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An industrial area of Middlesbrough, on the south bank of the River Tees. Situated about 3 miles east of Middlesbrough station on the Darlington - Saltburn line; South Bank station is a little to the east.
Railway type and traffic
Half hourly Darlington (or Bishop Auckland) - Saltburn local service (Arriva Trains Northern, soon to become part of the new Northern Rail franchise), operated by class 142 and 156 DMUs.
Lots of it - steel products and empties to and from Corus Lackenby (worked by DB Schenker class 60 and 66 locos);
Limestone to and from Redcar and Lackenby steelworks (DB Schenker class 60);
Coal to and from Redcar Mineral Terminal DB Schenker and Freightliner Heavy Haul);
Potash and rock salt between Boulby and Middlesbrough Goods DB Schenker class 66, with occasional class 60);
Freightliners to and from Wilton (class 66/5 and sometimes class 57);
Local trip workings to and from Tees Dock (any DB Schenker traction).
Note that it is usually possible to watch a freight depart from Tees Yard and get here before it does (or watch it pass here and then get to Tees Yard ahead of it) due to being held near Middlesbrough station or Cargo Fleet to cross to or from the goods lines.
An industrial area, although an residential area is just the other side of the A66. Some of the former heavy industry has been replaced by light industry or the land has been reclaimed. I have not heard of any problems with anti-social behaviour towards photographers. Middlesbrough FC's Riverside Stadium is not far away.
From the west (and north and south from the A19):
Use the A66 through central Middlesbrough. At the third roundabout turn left - this road leads over the 'new road bridge' referred to below (location 2).
To reach the 'old bridge' (near South Bank station), turn left at the roundabout and then turn first right; take the second left into the spur of the road over the old bridge (you will clearly see the old bridge), which is almost opposite the Asda supermarket, and park here (keeping the road clear for lorries).
To reach the line side footpath, turn left at the roundabout and then second right (just before climbing up to the new bridge); park in the dead-end road on the left at the right hand corner, from the 'new bridge' access the footpath from the main road beside the bridge.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location Middlesbrough, South Bank map co-ordinates
Details given above and below. I have heard of no problems with parked cars in this area.
Trains call at South Bank station. The local bus operator is Arriva Teesside, but no buses cross the railway line.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location
There is an Asda supermarket (with toilets but no café) and a few shops (including a café) close to the 'old bridge'. Asda also has a petrol station. At the second roundabout on the A66 is a McDonalds, while there is very likely to be a fish and chip shop close by in the residential area. Otherwise, there are plenty of facilities in central Middlesbrough.
Nearest accommodation is probably in central Middlesbrough, although there will be Bed and Breakfasts in Redcar, a few miles to the east.
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Middlesbrough, South Bank
Middlesbrough, South Bank general view map
Middlesbrough, South Bank close up map
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Middlesbrough, South Bank
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There are three locations here, all a few minutes walk from each other.
1. Old road bridge, close to South Bank station.
This bridge was closed to road vehicles when the new bridge (to the west) was built in the late 1980s. It has since been closed off completely, and it is not possible to get onto it at all. Park in the road leading to this bridge (on the south side of the line), but keep the road clear for the many lorries which use this short length of road. Walk past the road block up towards the bridge.
There is only a view west here as there are too many trees on the east side of the bridge. The light is right for shots for much of the day, with the sun on the nose until just before midday. The shot features the Tees Transport Bridge. Shooting video should be no problem, although there may be some background noise from the industrial premises at the bottom of the road and the film would be short. There is very little warning of approaching trains - they just appear under the new road bridge to the west.
2. New road bridge to the west.
Park in the side road on the south side of the bridge. There is a superb view east, with the South Bank coke ovens and steelworks dominating the skyline. Using a telephoto lens (up to about 200mm is good) pulls in the industrial backdrop. The light is right until late afternoon, with the sun on the nose from around midday. On summer evenings it is possible to photograph from the north side of the line. The view to the west is poor. Videoing is possible, although there will be some noise from passing traffic, which is not heavy.
3. From the line side.
A footpath runs parallel to the railway line for several miles from Middlesbrough to Redcar. It is possible to photograph from it in several places, and one of these is between the two bridges described above. You can park close by, at the opposite side of the waste land.
Photographs can be taken in both directions for much of the day; the sun is on the nose for eastbound trains until about midday, and after that for westbound trains. Having a set of steps is useful to allow you to see over the fence and any line side vegetation. Choosing your spot carefully allows the inclusion of various bits of industrial landscape, and prevents them growing out of the roof of the train. Photos taken here using steps look as though they have been taken from the wrong side of the fence.
General views - All photographs © Brian Carter unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking west
From the old bridge (location 1).
The shot was taken with a 50mm lens in the middle of the morning. The train had been easily chased from Tees Yard. In the background is the new bridge (location 2), while the line side footpath is visible between the two fences on the left hand side of the picture. The Tees Transporter Bridge is on the skyline; a longer lens would have brought it closer.
Fig 2 - Looking east
From the new bridge (location 2).
The shot was taken early in the afternoon, using a 70-200mm at about 85mm lens to pull in the industrial backdrop. The old bridge (location 1) can clearly be seen in the background.
Fig 3 - Looking east
From the line side footpath (location 3)
A short telephoto lens was used, and the photographer was standing on steps in order to remove the fence from the photo. The shot was taken during the early afternoon.
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