The 8D Association
Journey of a Railway Signalman
8D Archive on Flickr
The On Shed Archive
On Shed 2011
On Shed 2012
On Shed 2013
On Shed 2014
On Shed 2015
On Shed 2016
The Railway & Correspondence Travel Society Events
Site Visits and Field Trips 2016
Ethelfleda bridge pictures
Hospital Branch Map
Fiddlers Ferry visit
Blackpool Tram Trip gallery
Site Visits and Field Trips 2015
Site Visits and Field Trips 2014
Site Visits and Field Trips 2013
Intersection Bridge to Reginald Rd Bridge Feature
Halton Miniature Railway Special Feature
Allerton Depot Visit Special Feature
Site Visits and Field Trips 2012
Helsby to Ellesmere Port Special Feature
Ferry Go Round Special Feature
Site Visits and Field Trips 2011
Edge Hill Locomotive Shed 8A
Edge Hill 8A in pictures
Warrington Dallam and Arpley Locomotive Shed 8B
Speke Junction Locomotive Shed 8C
Widnes Locomotive Shed 8D
8D Shed Commemorative Page
Sutton Oak Locomotive Shed 8G
The St Helens & Runcorn Gap Railway
The St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway in pictures
The LNWR Widnes Deviation
The LNWR Deviation in Pictures
The Liverpool & Manchester LNWR
The Liverpool and Manchester LNWR in Pictures
The Cheshire Lines Committee CLC
The Cheshire Lines Committee CLC in Pictures
GC&MR Joint Widnes Line (The Widnes Loop)
The Birkenhead Joint Railway
The Birkenhead Joint Railway in Pictures
LNWR Ditton Jct to Weaver Jct
Garston & Warrington Railway The Low Level
The Low Level Then and Now
The Low Level in Pictures
The Willis Branch Cronton Colliery
The Willis Branch 1969 Journey by J C James
The 15 Guinea Special
The LUR and LNWR Wigan to Huyton line
Industrial and Private Railways
ICI Folly Lane branch
Pilkington Brothers St Helens
John Hutchinsons West Bank Dock Estate
The Lancashire Coalfield
NCB Lea Green
NCB Bold Colliery
The SH & RGR
The L & M
The Birkenhead Joint
The GC & MR Joint
Ditton Junction to Weaver Junction
The Low Level Widnes to Arpley
The St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway
The Low Level Speke to Arpley
The Liverpool to Manchester LNWR
The Cheshire Lines Committee
The Birkenhead Joint Warrington to Mickle Trafford
The GC & MR Joint boxes
LNWR/LUR Prescot to Garswood boxes
The Lancashire Coalfield.
Shallow seams and small outcrops of this vast coalfield have been mined from the Middle Ages, 5th to 15th Century. Although the coal mined was of a poor quality it was mainly used in small scale industrial processes and not as a domestic fuel. With the Industrial Revolution starting in the 1700's the demand for coal for industrial use was set to rocket.
There was a demand for a new type of transport and in the mid 1700's canals were seen as the answer. With the opening of the Sankey Canal in 1755 large amounts of coal could be conveyed from mine to factory or to the docks for export. Although the canals had revolutionised the bulk movement of raw and finished materials they did have their limitations. The coming of the railways signalled a new era in the shipment of large amounts of coal from the Lancashire Coalfield it was found the railways could be relied upon to transport this valuable cargo whatever the weather and at a cheaper rate than most of the canals.
The British Coalfields in 1904.
The Coal-Mining industry of the U.K.
R.A.S. Redmayne 1904 The Engineering Magazine.
Reproduced under Creative Commons Licence.
By 1907 the Lancashire Coalfield was at its most productive with 358 collieries producing 26 million tons of coal. Over the next half century many of the smaller collieries would close and by nationalisation in 1947 there were only 86 operational sites many if not all despatching their coal by rail. Within the St Helens area there were 22 operational collieries in 1947 but within 20 years many would be closed due to being exhausted or unrenumerative. The St Helens area would see the final deep mine sunk from 1957 at Parkside, Newton Le Willows, the colliery opening on 31st March 1964. The colliery was said to have around 100 million tons of coal available but would be closed within 30 years without exhausting its underground reserves.
There were many collieries within the 8D area mostly all rail connected and within the next few pages we shall try to look at the locomotives that worked the internal rail systems and the operation of main line trains from the mines.
Dedicated to promoting the history of the railways of South Lancashire and North Cheshire.
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