Tag Archives: British Coal

Steam Railways in Preservation in the 1990s – December 1993 Including Littleton Colliery

Steam Railways in Preservation In the 1990s

Including Littleton Colliery

December 1993

Bahamas shedWork begins on the removal of the shuttering at the ‘Bahamas’ Locomotive Society’s new purpose built workshops at Ingrow on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Revealed underneath them is the inspection pit which has taken the summer and autumn to complete. The ex-LMS Jubilee 4-6-0 was recently passed for 75mph running (when track and timing permits, of course) in a complicated procedure which included having the loco’s speedometer re-calibrated at Crewe Heritage Centre, its resting place between North Wales Coast excursion duties at the weekend. She returned to Keighley on Monday but will be out again on the main line, Rail Tours organiser Tom Cozens reminds enthusiasts, double-heading with Black Five ‘George Stephenson’ over the Settle & Carlisle Railway on December 18 1993 and January 1 1994. (Photo: John Fairclough

Littleton Colliery

Whiston & Wimblebury in the yard - Melville Holley

Whiston & Wimblebury in the yard – Melville Holley

The staging of the most ambitious photographers’ charter steam train event ever – over the three day period November 12-14 1993 – became even more poignant in the light of subsequent events.
Within 48 hours of the event, British Coal announced that Littleton Colliery in Staffordshire firstly under review, was to close following losses of £2.9 m since April.
And that effectively means that the sight of working steam within a working colliery environment is unlikely to be repeated.
Over 140 of the country’s leading railway photographers were invited to the three-day event, organised by Railway Magazine Assistant Editor Chris Milner and photographer Robin Stewart-Smith, together with Steve Turner and other members of the nearby Foxfield Railway. Following the success of a similar one-day event at Littleton last year, it was proposed that the event be repeated but this time using two locomotives over the full length of the pit system.
Motive power came from Foxfield, appropriately in the shape of two ex-NCB 1950s-built Hunslet 0-6-0STs, ‘Whiston’ (ex-Bold Colliery) and ‘Wimblebury’ (ex-Cannock Wood Colliery). Foxfield also brought along their recently-acquired ex-LMS brake van, appropriately out-shopped in NCB blue and yellow livery.

Wimblebury and the Foxfield Railway's brake van beside Littleton's loading bunker - Robin Stewart-Smith
Wimblebury and the Foxfield Railway’s brake van beside Littleton’s loading bunker – Robin Stewart-Smith

Llangollen Railway

Chemicals giant ICI have swapped Llangollen Railway more than three-quarters of a mile of 95lb bull-head line worth at least £25,000… for hundreds of seats for disabled and under-privileged children on their renowned ‘Santa’ services along the Dee Valley!
Imperial Chemical Industries say the site of redundant sidings is now wanted for further development at their sprawling Castner Kellner Works on the mouth of the Mersey estuary at Runcorn – and when the giant firm named their price, the North Wales line were more than delighted to oblige.
This special deal was arranged by ICI chief and Llangollen member Mr. John Rutter, who was anxious to ensure that the metals weren’t simply cut up for scrap.

Swanage Railway

Swanage Autumn Gala 1993Thousands of excited children and their parents from throughout Dorset and Hampshire are expected to deluge the volunteer-run Swanage Railway every weekend this December and the annual fund-raising ‘Santa Special’ steam trains on the relaid Purbeck Line.
And rail passengers can beat the traffic this year because volunteers are laying on a special vintage bus service from Weymouth and Christchurch – and many points in between – to the Swanage Railway. A rare 1961 double-decker Bristol Lodekka bus. ‘Nelly’ will be transporting passengers from Weymouth, Dorchester, Wareham, Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch.

Bristol_Lodekka_F56G_-_1961_-_reg_109_DRMA preserved Bristol Lodekka FS6G/ECW at the Fleetwood Tram Sunday 2006. It was previous operated by Cumberland Motor Services, whose successor is Stagecoach North West. Bristol Lodekka F56G – 1961 – reg 109 DRMCC BY 2.0view termsTerry Wha from Bolton, UK
License details  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

BRM WilmcoteDetroitGCR

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140 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News Autumn 1991 – Part 3 A Goods Train for Gricers Day

140Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News Autumn 1991 – Part 3

A Goods Train for Gricers Day

 When Baddesley Colliery was demolished in 1990 we managed to get a set of points at a reasonable price, so when Lea Hall closed earlier this year (1991) ‘your management’ paid a visit.

This time, a couple of steel bodied mineral wagons were singled out as being worthy of preservation, and in due course, a price was agreed.  British Coal/NCB have always been good to us over the years, so £50 plus VAT was probably the sort of good deal we would expect.  When, however, a check of the contents of the wagons reveals about three or four tons of coal left in the bottom, worth something approaching £100 per ton, it’s mot bad value at all!

To put the purchase price into perspective, an ‘0’ gauge model of a similar wagon would cost around £15, and , being in kit form, would have to be assembled and painted.  Ours are ready to run!Collection and delivery to Chasewater was arranged for Saturday 13th July, with one low loader making two round trips.  At 7.30am loading of the first 21 ton wagon commenced using the tractor unit to pull the wagon onto its own low loader trailer.  Additional power was provided during the operation by a fork lift truck pushing and lifting the wagon from behind.

At Chasewater the fencing had been removed from around the level crossing, and various tools and jacks gathered together.  The trailer was positioned on the crossing and a short ramp built in the general direction of the track.  With the Fowler diesel pulling via a cable on one end and the Southern brake van controlling the descent via a chain from the other, the wagon was dragged off the trailer and into the ballast.  After a bit of traverse jacking and pulling up re-railing ramps, the wagon was finally shunted into the shed yard.

Unloading the second, smaller, 16 ton wagon went more smoothly, requiring only a gentle sideways pull from the lorry to drop the wheel flanges between the rails.  By 4.00pm both wagons were safely on CLR metals, which, with only five CLR members and the truck driver helping, was not bad going.

The only details of the two wagons, which were painted various shades of blue and green, have been taken from the plates on their solebars as follows:

BC 503 – B316711 – 21 T – Re-bodied Shildon – 1972

BC 517 – B274600 – 16 T – Tees Side B & E Co. – 1957 – Lot 2817

Both are on the CLR stocklist of August 2011

Whilst the bodywork of both vehicles has rotted through in places, their running gear appears to be in excellent condition, which is why they were chosen from a number of others.  Both vehicles now require work to free off their doors, especially the end opening ones, as these will be ideal for ballasting track.  A repaint in a more suitable colour will give us quite a respectable goods train this Gricers Day, with a choice of brake vans!

Nigel Canning