Club Members Travels

Lofthouse Colliery.

I mentioned in my previous post about Lofthouse Colliery. Well, here is the history of it, as I know there will be interest in this sort of thing.

Lofthouse Colliery

The first Sods were ceremoniously cut on the 20th November 1873 and work on sinking 2 pit shafts commenced immediately after, initially to a rough depth of around 1050 feet then deepened further to 1370 feet during coal production.

Lofthouse Colliery started producing coal on 31st December 1877 then multitude of rail sidings were built initially by the Great Northern Railway to access the Colliery to aid the speedy export of coal and distribute it round the country. A private line was then built in 1883 which incorporated part of the Lake Lock railway and part of the 1840 navigation tramway to Lofthouse Gate, the line linked the Colliery to Stanley Ferry to export coal to the port of Goole via the Aire and Calder canal navigation.

On March 21st 1973 at around 2am disaster struck, in the mine workings known as district South 9B, miners were taking a standard longwall cut and a massive inrush of water, sludge and debris enterered and engulfed the whole workings.

Miners ran for their lives as the inrush continued to enter with immense force. At a position of safety it was found that 7 miners were unaccounted for. Immediately a mass rescue operation was launched by a team of the NCB local and Stafford frogmen. Water pumps were sent down the mine shaft and a local drilling rig was set up on the surface roughly under the point of where the intombed men were to try generate an air pocket in the workings of South 9B, 700 feet below the surface. In the meantime over 3,600.000 gallons of water and debris filled South 9B.

On the surface close to the drilling rig 3 large holes appeared in farm land which was ploughed a few days before the incident. These holes were part of older abandoned mine workings known as the Old Low Laithes Colliery which were sank around 1835 in that area.

These old abandoned workings over time had accumulated vast water retention until part of it was accidentally breached by the cutting of coal in South 9B.

After a 24 hour 7 day week operation of rescue was launched one out of the seven bodies was found very close to where the water had roofed the coal seam. 6 men are still entombed down in South 9B where after the rescue became totally impossible to get beyond two roadways which was filled with debris, slurry and sludge.

Direct above South 9B workings on the surface now stands an obelisk in memory of all 7 who lost their lives and the 6 that remain entombed as a memorial. Its just outside the village of Kirkhamgate near Wrenthorpe on Batley road close to Wrenthorpe Lane. Situated roughly 3 and half miles from former Lofthouse Colliery pit shafts near the now Outwood Station.

Club Members Travels

Yorkshire Model Shop Expedition

On 2nd October 2019 myself and John Dodds decided on a day out visiting model shops. This time, all over Yorkshire. To be exact, Going Loco in Outwood, Leeds Model Shop in Cross Gates, Olivia’s trains and Rails of Sheffield in, well, Sheffield!

First stop was Going Loco, which since our last visit has been extended. Overall a reasonable model shop with plenty of variety, if a little clumsily laid out. Reasonably priced too! However came away with nothing. Just around the corner from the model shop was the site of the former Lofthouse Colliery. (See separate post for that).

Back to Leeds for dinner then across to Cross Gates to Leeds Model Shop. Silly me only went and left my hat on the train there. Doh! Found the model shop and disaster – it was closed! Unfortunately the only day it was closed (other than sundays) was the day we tried to pay a visit. So trundle off back to the station to head off to Sheffield.

Arrive in Sheffield early afternoon and straight onto one of the ‘Supertrams’ up the big hill to Olivias Trains. The shop itself was nice – plenty of variety of stock – but way out of our price range unfortunately. Turns out that Olivias Trains specialise in sound fitted stock, hence the seemingly costly price. Back to the tram and back to the station.

We arrived back at the station and headed the mile and half from there to Rails of Sheffield, a first for both of us. The shop itself was fantastic, almost like a dream! Cabinets along all of the walls filled with various different stock at reasonable price and many accessories in the other part of the shop. Again no bargains to be had unfortunately but a shop we will certainly be visiting again! Anyway, back to the station, off to Nottingham with a guard that I knew before heading back to Leeds and to spoons.

Overall, a good day out!

Club Members Travels

Transpennine Trip 03/09/19

Today I decided I would go out and give the new Transpennine Express Class 68 and MK5 set a proper, long distance run.

I started my journey at my local station, Nelson and caught one of Northerns finest Class 150s to Preston, changing onto a Northern Class 319 to Liverpool Lime Street to meet the Transpennine service there.

The train pulled in on platform 1 and sat there for 15 or so minutes to prepare it for the journey back to Scarborough – enough time to try and get some decent photographs of it.

We left spot on time in the comfort of a spacious standard class Mk5 bound for York, a journey of around 2 hours. The at-seat air conditioning was a very welcoming addition, perfect for a nice summers day (bit late for that now!). The customer hosts were constantly passing through the train offering a range of refreshments from the trolley.

For the majority of the run, we were on time. Until we got to the very busy corridor between Huddersfield and Leeds, after that we ran slightly late. A number of table seats aligned with the windows, very good to watch the lovely scenery whizzing past the window.

We arrived at York a few minutes late due to minor delays in the busy Leeds Huddersfield corridor, with just enough time to get a photo and nip for something to eat, before catching our Northern Class 158 Wedge-ex back to Burnley.

A very nice experience all in all, and one I would certainly do again, although next time I’ll bring my other camera for interior photos…the camera I had just didn’t do it justice.

Club Members Travels

Scarborough 30/08/19

On the 30th August myself and John Dodds made the trip over to the seaside resort of Scarborough for the day. Not fun getting over there as the Transpennine service was full and standing on leaving Leeds.

We arrived in Scarborough at 11:40. The weather was overcast, but warm. Scarborough itself is a very nice and rather popular destination! We headed off down to the seaside to find somewhere to sit in and have something to eat, a chip shop on the sea front, before spending a bit of time at the local arcades and having a walk along the sea front.

As we returned to the station we stopped off in the local model rail shop which offered a good range of stuff at a decent price, however unfortunately they didn’t have anything that took my fancy this time.

We then headed off back to the station, before catching a train to Bridlington, another seaside resort, and had a walk down the sea front. Not as busy as Scarborough was, but was a lovely little harbour with many families playing in the sea.

We then headed off back home via Hull and York, mainly to sample the brand new Transpennine Express Class 68 and Mk5 set. That was a great little experience, travelling in first class. Unfortunately the day was somewhat marred by our train being involved in a fatality

Here’s some photos from an enjoyable day.

TPE Class 68026 with a brand new Mk5 rake at Leeds.
Class 158790 stands under the grand canopy at Hull station.
Class 155343 on our service from Scarborough to Bridlington.
Class 155343 ready to depart Bridlington.
The stunning Bridlington station.
Club Members Travels

Arnside 16/08/19

On the 16th August I decided to take a little photography trip up to Arnside on the border of Lancashire to try and get some pictures of the new Northern Class 195 units crossing the viaduct over the river Kent estuary.

The weather was heavily overcast when I arrived, however started to clear up in the hour I had to wait for the next trains. ‘Great’ I thought, as the conditions improved. I definitely thought too soon!

Around 10 minutes before the first train it would normally come into view across the estuary over in Cark and Cartmel however a very heavy rain shower made its way over from Barrow and quickly obscured any view I’d see of it approaching!

It made its way across the viaduct in horrendous weather conditions on a Manchester Airport service, the heavy rain making for a rather moody photo. I’m still not convinced it was worth getting as wet as I did for these pictures though!

Now drenched, I had another few minutes to wait for the next northbound train before my train home in another hours time. The weather quickly cleared up again after this brief shower, much to my annoyance, however just in time for the second train. Much better shooting conditions for this one.

It crossed the viaduct to Grange over Sands and onwards, clearly visible making its way along the Furness Coast across the estuary. I headed off back to the station suitably soaked head to toe to await for my Class 156 back to Preston and home from there.

Here are a couple of photos from my brief but wet stay in Arnside.

A Class 195 heads across Arnside Viaduct in atrocious weather conditions.
A northbound Class 195 departs the station and passed the starter signal leading to the viaduct.
The northbound train crossing the viaduct, the remnants of the shower on the distant fell.
Class 195 on Arnside Viaduct.
The northbound Class 195 across the estuary at Grange over Sands.
Ecclesford Our club news

Norwich Show 13/04/19

On the 12th April 2019 a number of club members made the long journey from our base in Brierfield to Norwich with the layout Ecclesford Junction for the annual Norwich show, which was held for one day, the 13th April.

We arrived mid afternoon and immediately started to unpack and set up the layout. This is a task that usually takes approximately an hour to assemble it and another hour to stock it up with trains. Testing went without hitch and the layout was ready for the next day.

The show itself was very busy for the relatively small size of it. There was a number of layouts and traders spread across two halls, which is held at a local school, with a fair amount of variety. Many people came through the doors throughout the day with lots of positive comments about Ecclesford. We even came away with the ‘best layout in show’ award!

After the last of the viewing public had left, we dismantled the layout, loaded it into the trailer and retreated to the hotel for the night ready for the long return journey back home. We couldn’t come all the way to Norwich however without going out trainspotting nearby!

Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.


Who did that…?!

During testing of layout Ecclesford Junction a big gust of imaginary wind came howling through the town of Ecclesford, causing a tree to topple on to the track, right into the path of an oncoming 2 car Class 158 unit. The result? It was a draw – the tree was destroyed, and the train was derailed straight into a signal!

Club Members Travels

Morecambe 26/08/19

On Monday 26th August, myself and fellow club member John Dodds decided to have one of our usual days out, but somewhere a bit different this time.

Normally we would focus our trips on visiting more distant model railway shops such as Going Loco in Outwood (Leeds), Cutty Blacks in York (unfortunately now permanently closed) and C&M in Carlisle, however this time we decided on a day out to Morecambe.

It was a beautiful day and made for a very nice, albeit a bit warm, walk down the sea front with views right over across the bay to Arnside, Grange over Sands, Barrow in Furness and once the haze lifted even Scafell Pike!

We took a walk up to the Eric Morecambe statue in the north of the town before having an hour in one of the arcades before returning home.

We will be out again on Friday visiting Going Loco in the morning before heading off on one of Transpennine Express’ new trains to Scarborough for the afternoon.

Club Members Travels

What I do…

One of the multiple things that I do when I’m either not working or attending exhibitions is volunteering on the world famous Settle Carlisle Railway line. My role? On train guiding and photography.

On train guiding consists of pretty much just engaging with the travelling public – talking to them about the route, answering questions and mainly trying to improve their journey. Being such a world famous railway though, we get lots of group booking from excursion holidays with many people coming to see the lines stunning scenery, and of course Ribblehead Viaduct. As on train guides our role is also to stand up in front of the group and tell them about what they see, where to see it, some of the history of the line etc. In the 4 years I’ve been doing this role, I’ve accumulated approximately 130,000 miles on the S&C alone!

I’m also a photographer for not just the Settle Carlisle Railway, but Northern too. I travel across the network looking for good photo opportunities and try and capture them where possible – not as easy as it sounds! However, well worth it when it pays off.

You may have already seen my pictures on the cover of Northerns ‘delay repay’ forms and the Settle Carlisle Railway timetable. They are also attached below for you all to see here too.

The cover of Northerns Delay Repay form –
155346 returning from refurbishment through Settle.
The Settle Carlisle Railway timetable cover photo –
Dentdale viewed from Dent Station.
Club Members Travels

Northerns New Train Introduction

On the 1st July 2019, Northern launched their fleet of brand new trains, Class 195s and Class 331s. They launched 9 new units that day, 5 in Cumbria, 2 in Liverpool and 2 at Leeds.

I decided that I had to take a trip out on one, being a historic moment – the north getting new trains for the first time in many many years – so decided to take a trip up to Ulverston after work and catch one from there back down to Preston and change for the usual pacer back home.

First impressions were good. Clean, comfortable, plugs and WiFi, aircon and very well spaced out, even seats that align with the windows. Acceleration for a diesel unit was fantastic…0-60mph within a matter of seconds.

Well worth the late night for the scenery of the stunning Furness Coast line and the experience of a proper modern train on Northern.

One of the new Class 195 units at Preston, 195112, on a test run accumulation fault free mileage.
A small snippet of the gorgeous scenery of the Furness Coast line – Morecambe bay from between Carnforth and Silverdale.