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Symptoms

New coal mine in Cumberland

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Part of me rejoices at the news of a new deep coal mine in Cumberland (I've never liked the name Cumbria or Northumbria ... I still address letters home to Northumberland).  I'm at a loss, however, to know where they're going to get enough skilled workers to create the place;  is there anybody alive who knows how to sink a shaft or build the necessary underground infrastructure?  Watch out HPW ... you could get drafted.

https://www.westcumbriamining.com/

The other (small) part of me worries about the polar bears choking on the fumes from the coke works.  Still, the Chinese seem to building loads of coal powered power stations (one new one a month) with little regard for the environment.

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Hi Symptoms 

thats why China & India are raking the money pumping any old rubbish intothe atmosphere Trumps trying to get the old steelworks going,by the way are you still doing the nice roast potatoes lol . I've moved from Thamesmead now & have been living in Budapest for the last year pretty good place to be.

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Heh heh!Sym, aam owa aad noo for craaling aroond on a coalfyess....but me brain cud still come in handy training aal.. ...[AAL?]..or..aa shud hev sed...whomsoever may have the courage to meander down the mine!...after stepping into a rattly...[no...no...!..]...into a LIFT!!...aye,nae such thing as riding doon in a rattly steel cage on the end of a rope...steam-winding and dropping at 50 feet -per-second....then  as the cage nears the middle of the shaft, you experience a G-force that makes you feel as if you are going back up the shaft again,[momentarily..],and as you get nearer to the shaft bottom..the brakesman [winderman], steps on the pedal so hard that your knees bend for a second and you canna lift ya byeuts up off the floor of the cage!...noo if ye are in the cage gaan up the shaft,when he brakes the cages,you feel your insides coming up into your mouth!..as you experience slight weightlessness...you get used to these things after  a while...but anyway,there'll be none of that in a new mine...even Ellington Colliery had a proper lift shaft installed a while before thatchy ordered the ropes ti be cut!

But the main question is...where are the  "Whomsoevers"....[probably full teams contracted in from China..or...India?!]..

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Sym,a just followed the link you posted,it's a few years since aa was at Whitehaven,and a forgot exactly hoo luvly it is owa theor.

It med me blood sort of Sym...mer..[!],when they flew owa the aad [presumably ] ..Whitehaven pit buildings' concrete foundations,wi grass and weeds growwin' aroond and aal dilapidated.

Bates pit had wor aan shipping berths and loading facilities,so wor coal went oot stryght onto the ship from the Washery and blending plant,and away doon ti the power stations...a proportion of wor total ootput went by rail also,and Household and Industrial needs  were supplied by road.

Aal we needed,throughoot the Coalmining Industry,was better managed investment,more research into "Clean-burning" methods, and a lot fewer,.."created" jobs,for the Senior Officials,from the pits that were exhausted of reserves,and HAD to close,at the headquarters of each area ..in our case it was Teems Valley,in Gateshead.

As pits were closing,right back in the 1960's,I saw Managers,Personell Officers,Engineers..etc,suddenly  come to the pits where aa was transferred,as each of my pits closed,under a new guise...such as "Strata Control" Engineers...who the hell thinks they can gaan doon a pit,and tell experienced miners....aboot "Strata Control?!!..[ methinks if me needed a Strata Control engineer ti show me hoo ti keep a safe roof up owa me heed...ME wadna be heor relating past history of true events in the name of education and entertainment,as well as preserving wor Heritage!

Other job-titles that were created for some..[to keep jobs for the boys!...],were "Method Study Engineers"...timing hoo lang it tuk ti saw a pit prop and knock it in,ti keep thi roof up..hoo lang it tuk ti cut the coal wi a coal-cutter....sitting theor aside ye wi a stop-waatch and pen and paper...no kid...we'd been cutting coal aal wor pit lives!!...ye canna cut coal any faster than the brittleness of a particular seam will allow ye...try and cut it faster...and ye snap the cutter rope...simple as that!!

UUUGGGGRRRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!

Aam gaana get me suppa and gaa ti bed....!

 

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It does't matter what industry it is, it'll eventually be overrun by the tick-box Nazis in their sharp polyester suits and sporting 100 quid haircuts ... they always spoil it for those getting their hands 'dirty'.  To make matters worse they believe what they're doing makes things better!

I think I posted once before about visiting the Doctor Pit as a lad and was shown into the winding house to watch the winderman operate the tackle.  I clearly recall some hand-painted marks on the big green winding drum to indicate the position of the cage on it's journey down the shaft and the winderman would watch these really carefully to slow and then brake at the correct moment ... I don't know how accurate these marks were as the cable must stretch and different loads must affect the behaviour of the tackle.  After the visit to the winderhouse we were taken on a visit below ground ... Jack Dixon, the pit electrician (and our next door neighbour in the Riggs), took us on this visit.

Edited by Symptoms

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My granda was killed at the dr pit he's name was Joe Curley think I mentioned this there's a photo of him on the top club v market club there was also a photo of him at the bedlington tennis club welfare park 

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Aye Sym,aal thi aad winders,AND big underground "Main and Tail" haulers were run on painted,or chalked indicator marks...and they were accurate if you had a well experienced Brakesman in the winderhoose,or a gud haulerman doon thi pit...well if you think about it...in the steam winder days...no electronics...right up to the 1960's at Choppington,before they replaced the steam winder with a new electric one,the overspeed trip was a simple Centrifugal["Centripetel"] "Governer",which controlled a small  steam valve,with a small ram,mounted below two thick steel pivotable bars,called "Latches",which were mounted at one end of the massive brake shoes of the winder drum,and which held the brake shoes in the "Off" position.[i.e..away from the drum brake surface.]

When the cages went too fast down the shaft..[and up the shaft at the same time!!]...the balls on the governer would fly outwards on their cantilever mounts,and they would push a small lever which opened the steam valve..which caused the ram to push the two "Latches" upwards,which in turn,allowed really heavy duty springs to push the brake shoes onto the drum causing a massive deceleration...which brought the cages to an abrubt halt..from over 50 feet per second down to a halt in about one second!!

Noo!!..when that happened,as it did every other day,on fast-winding coalwork,the cages bounced up and down,but the one furthest down the shaft,bounced the hardest....about 6 feet either way,first downwards..then upwards..back down..up..down..up..then finally standstill.

Choppington High Pit,differed to other pits,in that there was no "Manriding"mode..,on the old steam winder,there was just one mode,and that was coalwork!!

The men rode the shaft at the same speed as the coal tubs did...and when the cages tripped on overspeed,it was like you just went deaf..

All the bantering and cracking on between the men on the way down,[or up..]...ceased in an instant,and all you could hear was the cage rattling against the "Skeets"..[shaft cage guide rails].

Once the cage came to rest..everybody started laughing and joking again!

The shaft at Choppington High Pit was 600 feet deep,fairly shallow compared to most other pits,but once your feet are in the cage,there is 600 feet of nothing between you and the Sump at the shaft bottom.

So if you were in the cage going down,and it tripped at 500 feet,then 500 feet of steel cage rope stretched like an elastic band...that's not dangerous,it's designed to do that....[[unless it snaps.!!]

But nature didn't take these occasions into account when she created us!!..so every time the cage bounced up and down...so did wor stomachs!!

When young trainees got into the cage for the first time,the men would say to them to hold onto the overhead bar,"in case the rope snaps"!.. then the Banksman would give the Brakesman the wire,and he would drop the cage a bit faster from the keps,and trip it on overspeed,then someone would crack..[in the following silence!]..."aye, it's thorteen years thi day since thi rope snapped..wa lucky thi day..!!"

We all had it done to us....I remember the first time that happened when I went down...what a queasy feeling!!!

But you got used to it..even though there was STILL a moment of silence every time..cos you never knew for sure..!...till the cage started to move again..

The ropes did stretch over time,but there was always a few spare coils of the rope tucked in a recess at the side of the drum,which served as a reserve for when the Shaftsmen did the obligatory "Rope-cut",every six months,which involved cutting off the Sheckle on the rope -end,on which the cages hung,plus 6 feet of rope on which the sheckle was mounted.

This  was done on both cage ropes,and both samples were sent away to S.M.R.E. ["Safety in Mines Research Establishment" in Nottingham],for testing the integrity of the sheckles  on the rope-ends.

The reserve coils on the drum were then utilised to equalise both ropes to their original lengths,by unwinding them with a geared mechanism,on the side of the drum,and new sheckles fitted to the ropes.

When new ropes stretched after a while,the extra length was taken up back inside the coil reserve recess.[you can see this if you visit any mining museum,and you know what to look for!]

An Emergency brake test was done every week,at every pit,and involved loading the cages with a known,weighted vehicle,which weighed ten times more than the heaviest load which the cages would be subjected to,in everyday use.

The cages were run on coalwork,then the Brakesman would slam the brakes on to simulate an emergency stop.

Rope-breakages were unheard of in latter years as locked-coil steel ropes became ever stronger with anti-twist properties,and safety regulations enforced without question.

Tonyp,it was a sad aspect of mining,that only the mining communities knew anything about,that fatalities were happening too often in the olden days ,especially,but even in the days of mechanisation,when fewer fatalities occurred,ONE fatality was STILL too many.

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If you zoom in on this pic you can see the titimage.thumb.jpeg.7001f0565728c1a34fce1c8dd126128a.jpegle on the side of the No 3 Winder test weight car,next to the pit cage wheels,it's painted red.

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