Situated less than five miles east of central Darlington, Teesside Airport offers scheduled passenger flights to the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and neighbouring Scotland. It is a former Royal Air Force base that was taken over by a group of local authorities in 1964 and subsequently became a civil airport (ref: Teesside Survey & Plan: Policies and proposals, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and Partners, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, H.M. Stationery Office). Along the airport’s northern perimeter runs the Darlington to Middlesbrough and Saltburn line (via Eaglescliffe and Thornaby), and upon this is situated a pair of platforms that, at time of writing, have no railway service.
In the January 1969 edition of The Railway Magazine, it was reported that the "Teesside Airport Joint Committee" had approved a sum of £24,300 (£448,300 at 2021 prices) to be spent on the construction of a halt upon the Darlington to Saltburn line to serve the airport. Two timber-planked platforms upon concrete blocks, 250-feet-long, were built either side of the double-track, linked by a metal footbridge. Each platform was provided with a flat-roofed rectangular waiting shelter. The station opened on Sunday, 3rd October 1971, to coincide with an open day at the airport, for which special trains were run, and a new Eastern Region timetable was introduced along the route the following day (ref: The Railway Magazine, November 1971).
As of 1991, the station still possessed both waiting shelters and exposed timber platform surfaces, which the photograph below attests. However, by 2000, the waiting shelter on the southern side of the line had been removed and the timber planks covered over with an asphalt layer. The last trains called at the station on 24th April 2022; both platforms were deemed unsafe — indeed, platform 2 had already been taken out of use by this time (ref: Branch Line News No. 1401, Branch Line Society, 21st May 2022). This was one of the country’s least-used stations: between April 2019 and March 2020, 338 entries/exits were recorded; between 2021 and 2022, this number totalled 42 (ref: Office of Rail and Road).
An eastward view shows a time when the platform surfaces retained exposed timber and, of course, were both in use. At this time the station nameboards showed a hypen: "Tees-Side Airport". The station is little over half a mile from the terminal building. Class 47 No. 47247 is seen approaching with what appears to be fuel tankers.
© David Glasspool Collection