Presenter: Colin Mountford
Colin Mountford presented “A Record for Posterity: Underground Haulage at Thoresby Colliery, Nottinghamshire, 2015” at November 14th’s meeting in Newcastle, having been privileged to make an underground tour during its closing months, when Thoresby, Kellingley and Hatfield Main were the country’s last three working deep shaft mines. Three types of battery loco were in operation, ranging from the appropriately named 4-wheeled Pony class to 150hp Co-Cos built by Clayton Equipment. The Ponies were used to move materials, or coal to the shaft bottom some 2,267 feet below ground, while although confined to lines with gradients no steeper than 1 in 15(!), the Bo-Bos and Co-Cos were also used to haul man-riding trains. Features typical of surface railways abounded, ballasted track, catch points and sidings, though rusty rail heads on operative lines were indicative of locos’ rubber or composite tyres. Maintenance garages and the separate charging stations were shown, batteries being exchanged with similar proficiency to a Deltic engine at Doncaster to maximise availability and the mine’s earnings. Direct and endless rope haulages also featured, the latter being used to exchange the mine cars loaded with scrap metal collected subsurface from newly hewn coal. An excellent talk that recorded the end of an era, highly recommended for its rare, now historic content.