Report - - Bickershaw Colliery Railway, Lancashire, Jan 1971 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Bickershaw Colliery Railway, Lancashire, Jan 1971


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The main South Lancashire Coalfield was in a kind of rectangle with Wigan, Bolton, Manchester and Warrington at the corners. The area became riddled with mines, as there were many good, workable coal seams not too far from the surface.
Near the town of Leigh, Bickershaw Colliery was opened in 1877. It was expanded and deepened to exploit the rich seams beneath, until it was linked up to Golborne and Parsonage Collieries underground, in a £3 Million scheme, completed in 1976. Some 90% of its output was destined for power generation and in 1970 a scheme was devised to divert much of its output to the nearby Fiddlers Ferry power station, which was being served by coal trains from Yorkshire. For this to be feasable, Merry-go-Round trains would be used with special hopper wagons that were automatically discharged at the power station whilst the train slowly moved over a bunker set below the rails.
The collieries in the area that were to be used had to have their loading bunkers tested, to see if the new waggons would fit under them, so I, whist working for BR, had two pleasant days with a Class 31 diesel loco and 2 hopper waggons visiting the collieries concerned.
Bickershaw Coliery was connected to a branch line that ran between Kenyon Junction and Hindley, near Wigan. When this closed, access was from the Hindley end only and the NCB took over the last mile of the branch. As BR loco's were not allowed on the NCB, the waggons had to be taken by a colliery loco to the bunkers.
The colliery was still steam worked, with a fleet of modern 0-6-0 Saddle Tank 'Austerity' engines and as at 8am, there were no bosses about, I was able to photograph and ride on the engines, something that the public would not get the chance to do.


Collecting the waggons


Arriving at the pithead



In Winter morning sunlight


Drivers view, the white crossed waggons were for internal use only



The coal went out in 16 ton steel waggons, which were emptied by being uncoupled and inverted in a tippler, which took a lot of time!

Despite there being ample reserves, the pit failed to meet its production targets, was declared uneconomic, closing in March 1992, along with nearby Parsonage Colliery. Golborne closed in 1989.
The site was earmarked for a 'carbon neutral' housing development.



Derp Lover
28DL Full Member
I'm joking - wish it was! Would have liked to have driven the 0-6-0's though. Better than the crap I drive nowadays lol. My Grandad worked at Bickershaw Colliery 'back in the day'


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I'm joking - wish it was! Would have liked to have driven the 0-6-0's though. Better than the crap I drive nowadays lol. My Grandad worked at Bickershaw Colliery 'back in the day'
Good info, I hate modern crap nothing is made to last like it used to! When we was kids anything made in China was a joke....How times have changed!!

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