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Written by Rich Mackin - 06 Mar 2004
last update by Rich Mackin - 19 Aug 2008
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Location notes
Located on the ECML just south of Darlington Bank Top station. The location is on Network Rail land, but is fenced off away from the railway line. Network Rail don't mind people using the area, which is also popular with local dog owners (so be careful what you stand in).

Update 19-08-08:
This area is now closed off, access is usually unavailable.
Railway type and traffic
The location overlooks a junction between the ECML and the Darlington-Middlesbrough line. It sees a wide variety of traffic, including East Coast, Virgin Cross Country, Trans Pennine Express and Arriva passenger services. DB Schenker and Freightliner run regular freight services throughout the day. Railtours and engineering/track recording trains are regular visitors, as well as diverted freight services at weekends.
Classes 43, 60, 66, 67, 91, 142, 156, 158, 220 and 221 can be seen throughout the day, plus occasional visits by other types of stock. Trains pass regularly throughout the day, so any time of the day is good.
Link to Real Time Trains
RTT Link Darlington, South Junction
This link should be close to the location, but may not be the actual location so please check the page. This link will take you to what is happening 'around now'. Dates and times can be changed at the top of the page.
Environment
Located in a residential part of Darlington, the spot is slightly elevated, giving excellent views of the ECML for over half a mile both north and south.
Road directions
Once in Darlington, follow directions to the railway station, which is signposted on all approaches into the town. If approaching from the north, be careful not to end up at North Road station, which is separately signposted. You should approach the station from the steep Victoria Road, looking up at the clock tower. When you reach the clock tower, turn right and drive down Park Lane. Turn left at Smithfield Road and drive under the bridge. It should be noted that the under bridge is quite narrow, so take care when driving. Once under the bridge, turn left and drive up the steep road. Stop and park before the gate. Then climb over or squeeze past the gate and you're there. The location is quite popular with local photographers, so there may already be a car parked there, which you might block the exit for.

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Darlington, South Junction map co-ordinates
Parking
You can freely park in the residential streets around the area, but be careful not to leave anything on display in your car, as always. The local railway station has car parking facilities, but these are expensive - 5 a day.
Public transport
If coming to Darlington by train, the location is only five minutes walk from the station. Simply come out of the station via the subway, turn left and walk down Park Lane until you come to Smithfield Road. Turn left again, and walk under the bridge. A steep road immediately to the left leads up the location, but there is a gate you will need to climb over at the top. As for buses, 26, 27, 28 and 54 (Saturday only) Arriva bus services serve the railway station. Some are supposed to continue all the way from Park Lane, but may not do so if running late.

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Amenities
The nearest public toilets are at the railway station, five minutes walk away. Much closer to hand, there is a Chinese takeaway that sells excellent chips, and a good chip shop a short walk further down Park Lane away from the railway station.
Accommodation
Victoria Road, near the railway station, houses a couple of Bed and Breakfasts and hotels that can provide overnight accommodation.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Darlington, South Junction

Googly map
Streetmap links
Darlington, South Junction general view map
Darlington, South Junction close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Darlington, South Junction



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Photographic notes
Mornings are the best time to photograph from here, as the sun will be behind you. On evenings the sun will be shining into your lens if facing south, and in the winter a similar problem will occur during the afternoon too. There should be no problems facing north. It is possible to easily shoot either north or south, though a signal and some OHL posts might obstruct views. The area is large enough that a good vantage point can easily be found. People often walk their dogs here, so be careful where you stand! Tripods should be no trouble to set up. A large bank to the south obstructs much of the view of trains on the Middlesbrough branch line, but should still be easy to film/photograph.


General views - All photographs © Rich Mackin unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking west


Fig 1 - Looking west

From the bank across the junction.

Fig 2 - Looking south


Fig 2 - Looking south

The Middlesbrough line just visible on the far left

Fig 3 - Looking north


Fig 3 - Looking north

Looking towards the station, with the fast and goods lines on the right

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