A loco-hauled railtour run by the Institution of Mining Engineers from London to collieries and coal-related installations in the East Midlands on Saturday 6th April 1991. Highlights were BSC Corby, NCB Asfordby, Ratcliffe Power Station (both coal and fly-ash loops), NCB Gedling Colliery, Bennerley ODP and Drakelow B Power station MGR loop.
The tour started from London St Pancras, and is ssen arriving at its final pick up point of Kettering behind 47846.
At Corby, the train reversed and 56004 was attached to haul us along the branch to British Steel Corby. Although the steelworks closed in 1979, a tube-making plant was retained on the site - still operational under Tata's ownership in 2022.
The next site visited was the new colliery at Asfordby near Melton Mowbray. The trains is seen straddling the new, temporary, coal loading pad here, with 56004 waiting to haul the train back to the main line. Although commercial mining started at Asfordby in 1991, by the pristine condition of the pad area it was obviously after April 6th! Later a loading bunker was built in the space on the left, but a photo from 1995 shows it built but not yet in use, with pad loading still taking place. Full output started in 1995, but the whole pit closed in 1997 due to geological problems, leaving 500m tonnes of coal unmined.
The next site visited was the coal-fired power station at Ratcliffe-on-Trent. The train traversed the now-closed fly-ash loop behind 56004. This had a south facing entrance and exit. The power station itself remains open and coal-fired, and is likley to be the last such installation in Britain.
After a reversal at Loughborough, the tour then proceeded through Nottingham to the branch to Gedling Colliery. Here 56004 is seen waiting to return. Gedling colliery and the branch from Netherfield closed later in 1991.
Next (after a visit to Bennerley opncast disposal point), it was back to Ratcliffe Power Station to do one of the north facing coal loops - the outer loop was used. 56004 is seen at the rear of the train as we leave the coal discharge sheds.
At the front, a very smart 47846 is in great contrast to the surroundings. The train then continued to Derby, Drakelow Power Station (near Burton on Trent) before heading back to London via Coalville and Kettering.
For more details on this tour and the route taken visit Six Bells Junction
A fuller description of this tour with maps and more pictures is available on the Branch Line Society website