The bus made its way back north. No criminals this time, just a mix of shoppers and commuters making their way home. I saw the red BR sign for Widdrington in the distance and took that as my cue to ring the bell – too soon, it turned out, as I got off one stop early.
The original Widdrington village is actually some distance from the station. The houses and shops here are a new community which grew up around the railway. This village is actually called Widdrington Station. So Widdrington station serves the village of Widdrington Station, while Widdrington itself is a mile further North. I hope that’s clear.
If I look slightly discombobulated in this picture, then… that is accurate.
Widdrington Station appears to be a thriving community. Whilst loitering around the station I saw an elderly couple walking their dog, mothers pushing babies in prams, kids playing in the nearby park. I allowed myself to feel a mild sense of outrage that they don’t have a decent rail service, but they’re not doing too badly without it.
Again, the former station building is fenced off. This time, there was just a tiny shelter with scratched perspex panels to offer some protection from the elements. The hatched markings – to warn passengers where not to stand to avoid being sucked off – took up most of the platform width, leaving just a sliver of safe ground to stand on.
Widdrington Station does have one thing going for it, though. Right next to the station is the Widdy Chippy. While en route to Morpeth that morning, I’d seen it from the bus and made a mental note to investigate it. Tantalising smells wafted out from the doorway. It was teatime, I was hungry and it was too much to resist. I went in and ordered cod and chips, then headed back to the station to devour them.
The entrance to the southbound platform is tucked away behind the remains of a signal box. There is also no seating anywhere on the station at all, so I ended up sitting cross-legged on the platform to eat my food. The tiny plastic fork was completely inadequate to eat the fish with. I ended up breaking bits off and shovelling them into my mouth by hand. Yes, I’m a slob. Deal with it.
This was my second helping of fish and chips in 24 hours – I had visited Whitley Bay the day before, and wolfed down a portion there too. It didn’t do my waistline much good, as I discovered when I got home and my bathroom scales said, “one at a time please” when I stood on them. However, I can highly recommend the Widdy Chippy to any other weird station hunters who happen to pass through.
Never let it be said that small towns and villages are closed-minded places. In fact, Widdrington is very liberal and easygoing, welcoming all into its fold. Yes, you can work here even if you are bi-directional.
That was it for Widdrington Station. The squealing wheels of an approaching Pacer indicated that my brief stay in the village was over. I was feeling much more cheerful – the sun was shining, my belly was full and my itinerary for the day was almost complete. I dumped the empty carton in the bin and jumped aboard the train for the short run to my final station of the day – Pegswood.