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Alan EmailAlan Beales Database of Fatalities in the Coal Fields

Emails - Page 12

Can you add to the Database – Is something wrong or missing? Please let me know.

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Angharad Scott -Mining Accidents, Hickleton Main, Thurnscoe, Near Barnsley in South Yorkshire
Christopher Baker - Gedling Colliery - GNR Railway In Train Simulator 2014, Looking For Gradient Profile
SM - Correction on the death of Stuart Martin at Cotgrave Colliery 1989

Angharad Scott
13 February 2014
Mining Accidents, Hickleton Main, Thurnscoe, Near Barnsley in South Yorkshire

I am researching an individual who worked at Hickleton Main in Thurnscoe from about 1920 to 1971.  We believe he was involved in a large accident at the colliery circa 1950 which resulted in his thigh getting crushed. So far, however, we have been unable to find any documentation to support this which seems a bit unusual.
I wondered whether you, or any of the other contributors to this brilliant website, were aware of any significant accidents at Hickleton around this period (the date might not be correct so we are looking five or so years either side) or where I might be able to find out if there was?
Many thanks and best wishes,

Angharad Scott


24-01-1950 - Ronald Bentley - Age 31 - Hickleton Main - Unknown Post traumatic pneumonia
01-02-1951 - Willis Walker - Age 53 - Hickleton Main - Unknown Fractured leg-ribs
13-03-1951 - A S Whittam - Hickleton Main - Unknown Haemorrhage-shock 

Christopher Baker
23 Jan 2014
Gedling Colliery - GNR Railway In Train Simulator 2014, Looking For Gradient Profile

Hi, My name is Chris baker and I’m working on a long term project to recreate The GNR railway in train simulator 2014.

I have recently arrived at Gedling colliery and have started laying the track using a 1950's map which shows all the track layout.

The one thing I don't have is a gradient profile for the place. But I assumed as the site is more or less untouched since the tracks where lifted I could just follow the lay of the land so to speak.

The Sim users real world DEM terrain data so the landscape is very close to the real thing. And from the track I have laid it seem the whole site is on a very steep gradient.

I’m looking for info on to weather the site really was this steep or a gradient profile for the site would be ideal but have my doubts if such a thing even exists.

If you could point me in the direction of any info that would help or people that worked there to confirm things I would be most grateful.

Kind Regards
Chris Baker

I have put your email into this section because Alan Beales worked At Gedling.

The Gedling site as you say is on a very steep gradient. That was a rope hauled system from the pit yard pulling the full trucks of coal up to Mapperley Plains Road that runs approximately due North. There was a Landsale yard there for lorries. The empties were then lowered down the very steep slope by the same static engine.

But the Gedling sidings etc were set out on the usual easy grades as at all pits maybe 1in80 or like with empty wagons shunted up the empty sidings and then lowered down under the screening / washery plant by hand originally, then by Carver automatic wagon lowering into the various trucks and grades of coal and then on to the full weigh bridge before being hauled to the various destinations via a connection where British Rail locos would pull them onto the main line.

Of course in the 1970s / 80s most of the output was cut by power loaders and that product was sent to the Trent side Power Stations. As seen on a map a railway, the LNER, passed by the site and went through Mapperley tunnel in almost westerly direction until that was closed through mining subsidence from Gedling workings. The other direction curved round to approximately South by South East then curved round South and West to join the main lines at Netherfield, Carlton, where the main line from Nottingham to Newark runs North East. The other line from Netherfield runs approximately due East towards Grantham.

Trusting this will answer your query and solve the 'steep railway gradients'.
Bob Bradley

More Information

Empty wagons were propelled up the empy sidings by steam loco as you suggest, however they were then lowered by hand, man using a scotch which is a piece of wood about a metre long with the bottom end shaped like a wedge which the man lowering the wagons used it by jamming it under the front wheel of a wagon now and then to steady it and he would also use the brake which could be held down at various positions by  pushing a pin through a hole on a bracket on the truck. He may have put a brake down at various levels on every empty wagon so that they did not run away. He prised this handle down using a shunter's pole that had a pig's tail at one end on for coupling and uncoupling the wagons. The wagons would be thus lowered by various points so that all the lines under the screens held empties and these were lowered as above and utched down as the wagons were filled through chutes from the screens above. The engine did not pass under the screens. It wasn't generally necessary to haul the fulls until a train load was ready as they gravitated down the full sidings on the shallow grade but of course would run by gravity again utched down by the man called a wagon lowerer.  If several trucks were being filled at the same time there were several wagon lowerers. Of course the shunting engine was used for the fulls also as trains were made up of various grades of coal so it was constantly fetching the odd wagon or so from the different tracks below the screens on the full sidings and the loco driver had a mate who changed the points etc in conjunction with the wagon lowerer. Dependent upon the degree of production the mate could also have been the shunter. 

The automatic part was to do away with the hand method of lowering. Steel Standards or Stauntions were erected at the side of each track below the screens and basically car wheels with rubber tyres fitted horizontally driven by an electric motor rubbed along the side of the trucks at various pressures that allowed the trucks to move by, operated from a board on the screens or weigh bridge etc.

There was a reconstruction scheme in the 1950s. new pit bottom, new pithead baths etc etc.
The winding engines were the ones used until the steam engines were changed to electric winders.

No1 winder previously steam driven Markham 1,124hp was changed to 1,025Kw Fullerton-Hodgart & Barkley parallel drum winding engine raising 10 tonnes skips with balance ropes. No2 shaft had a similar engine at 1,390hp used to raise and lower twin deck cages with manriding on 2 decks and materials on the bottom deck. The ‘new’ electric winding engines were transferred from  Wellesley closed colliery (1967) in Scotland and installed there in 1970. They were transferred for a price of £40,000.

No1 DC shaft had 10 tonnes skips giving 520 tons an hour in 1975. These replaced the tub system. £10m was invested in the mine in the 1980s to improve efficiency.

The boilers to raise steam for the winders were causing concern and ultrasonic crack detection tests showed that 8 out of the 11 boilers would need replacing. 9 boilers were needed to supply steam for winding, pithead baths and space heating system. Maintenance costs were averaging £7,000 per year. Winder maintenance was costing around £12,700 per year. These prices did not include NCB labour. No1 winder bed needed replacing at a cost of £4,000 because it was cracked. Coal winding was at both shafts at a maximum rate of 330 tons per hour at each shaft at that time.

Trusting this information is useful and answers your queries.

Bob Bradley

Hi Bob
Just thought I would show you how I’ve been getting on. I’ve got the main site laid out and made some custom buildings for it. I have kept these basic as its away from the main route but hope I have captured its atmosphere a little. 

It’s set in the 1950's 60's, although it changed so much over time it’s hard to guess what was and wasn't there. But it’s more a representation of it than anything. I animated the Pit heads too so the wheels start slow and speed up then slow down and stop, then go the other way. 

There's a lot more detail to add but that’s something that will be done later. I need to make a start on the monster yards at Colwick now.

Thanks again for your help

Chris Baker 

2 Feb 2014
Correction on the death of Stuart Martin at Cotgrave Colliery 1989
Stuart Martin was not killed on the surface, he was killed underground.

He had isolated a set of main feeder panels 3.3kv and removed the front of one of them to change an interior, he removed the front cover and went inside to remove the interior and didn't realise it was a ring main and the other side was still feeding it.

He was electrocuted and the British Coal report highlighted several issues.

There were no markings indicating it was a ring main which there should have been.
There was no way of him knowing the panels were still live.
He had followed standard protocols and isolated the end he isolated correctly and fitted both his personal lock and a red electrician’s lock.

Stu was an experienced electrician and had recently been made up to chargeman, he was small and dumpy, and was a bit of a character who liked a good laugh and had an excellent sense of humour, he was well liked and it hit many of us hard, particularly as I was one of those who investigated on behalf of British Coal and recovered his body.

In light of this many changes were made:

Interlocks were designed and retro fitted to all panels with a safety bolt marked in red, if this bolt was removed it shorted out the panels to trip back to the main feed transformers to trip them.

DLI (dead line indicators) were introduced to all electricians and certain mechanical men who may need to isolate panels with ring mains.

These particular panels were an old design and they were phased out and replaced with newer types with interlocks built in, and approved.

Panels on ring mains had individual markings (2 on each panel) on each individual panel stating they were on a ring main, even on banks of panels,

Feeder cables on ring mains were all marked by large signs stating RING MAIN.

Newer panels which replaced the older type had a warning light built in, if the panel was live you could see the double bulb designed light was illuminated. 

More Information About Stuart