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Report - Birchenwood Gas & Coke Railway, Kidsgrove, 1970-3

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Bovine, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. Bovine

    Bovine 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Oct 18, 2008
    Likes Received:
    When the Harecastle canal tunnel was being dug, large amounts of coal were found. After small scale mining began, the deposits were exploited by the Birchenwood company, who also established iron smelting and coke ovens. The mines were exhausted and closed down, along with the blast furnaces, the activity by the 1950's being a gas works supplying the local gas board with some 6,000,000 cubic feet of coal gas a year and coke as the by-product.
    North Sea Gas removed the main product market and despite modern coke ovens, the works closed in July 1973, being flattened within six months!
    There was an extensive railway system, but it seems that when an engine was worn out, it was dumped in the back of the shed and left to rot! The shed was deserted on a Sunday, so a couple of pics were obtained by walking up the sidings. The loco's at the back of the shed were impossible to photograph, but after the works closed I wrote off for a tender form, then they had to let me in and the engines had been pulled out, so a record was made.

    A Sunday in 1970, the shed with the 1897 Avonside's rear end

    Inside the shed, 1971. There was a modern Peckett loco, with a 1922 Bagnall out of use behind. This was the only wide bit of the shed to get a pic!

    1973 and the contents of the shed are outside, awaiting the hot lick of the cutters torch.

    This is Alexander, a 1922 Bagnall, long out of use

    An elderly 1897 Avonside, buffered up to Alexander for the final time!
    NOTE; The Peckett and the six wheeled Bagnall were preserved in the end.

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