North Yorkshire

A DMU railtour run by the Institution of Mining Engineers covering rare track in the North area of the Yorkshire coalfield on Sunday 8th October 1989. Highlights were: Goldthorpe, Frickley, South Kirby, Royston, Grimethorpe, Allerton Main, Gascoigne Wood, Kellingley, Sharlston and Woolley West Side Collieries and Drax power station.

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Goldthorpe 08/10/89 (p0550.jpg)

The first location visited was the loading bunker at Goldthorpe Colliery, on the former Dearne Valley Railway between Goldthorpe and Denaby. This shot is taken with the DMU at the end of the colliery branch, looking back towards the bunker and Goldthorpe village. Goldthorpe Colliery closed on 4th February 1994.

South Kirkby 08/10/89 (p0551.jpg)

After visiting Frickley Colliery, the tour then went to South Kirkby Colliery, a large installation on a short branch from the Wakefield-Doncaster mainline. The picture shows the train approaching the bunker. The colliery had closed in 1988, and although the washery stayed open initially, it too closed in 1989, shortly before the tour ran.

Royston 08/10/89 (p0552.jpg)

Next on the list was Roston Drift Mine, on a short branch of the North Midland line near Barnsley. The large tower in the distance is the Koepe winding tower of the closed Monckton Colliery. Royston Drift Mine closed a month before the tour. The nearby Monckton Coke Works remained open until 2014, but did not use rail transport.

Ledston 08/10/89 (p0555.jpg)

A trip to Grimethorpe followed, where the train reversed and ran to Castleford for the branch to Allerton Main Colliery. This was on the former line to Garforth via Kippax. In recent time it had served Bowers Row opencast, but by the time of the tour it was only a single dead-end line serving the colliery in Allerton Bywater. Because of a very low loading gantry, the train stopped short of the former Ledston station, under the A656 bridge. Allerton Main closed in 1992, but opencast coal was loaded here after that time.

Castleford 08/10/89 (p0556.jpg)

On the return, the train is seen passing over the River Aire viaduct on the branch. The colliery is seen in the far distance.

Kellingley 08/10/89 (p0557.jpg)

After a brief trip through the sidings at Gascoigne Wood colliery, the tour ran to Kellingley Colliery. Here the tour is seen reversing after we had passed under the bunker. The colliery closed in 2015 - the last deep mine in the UK.

Drax 08/10/89 (p0559.jpg)

From Kellingley it was a short trip to Drax Power Station and a run around the coal unloading loop.

Sharlston 08/10/89 (p0560.jpg)

Then to Sharlston Colliery, on a short branch from the Wakefield to Pontefract line. Here the train is seen leaving the colliery and crossing High St. There was once a triangular junction here, but by 1989 only a east facing curve was available. The colliery and branch closed in 1993. The Wakefield to Pontrefact line reopened to passengers in 1992.


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