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Coal by Rail


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It wasn't long ago that Coal was King.   In the early 1980s the  industry comprised a workforce of  150,000 in some  150 pits.   Go back further to its heyday and coal was the dominant industry and one that underpinned the UK's status of a major industrial power.  Coal was the lifeblood of a railway network which moved it from colliery to towns, cities, ports and industrial centres.  In this programme we’ll chart the life and times of King Coal and its movement by Rail .
WHEN COAL WAS KING - The 1930s.      THE POST WAR YEARS  - The period from 1947, with new coal wagons and various Industrial steam railways operated by the National Coal Board.  Coke works and Collieries in the North East and the South East are featured including the Lambton Railway and Betteshanger Colliery.  Austerites and larger tank locos are shown in and around the pit heads.    THE DIESEL ERA - Vacuum braked coal trains and the new ‘merry go round’ operations with Class 20s, 56s, 58s and 60s in the Midlands and North East.    SOUTH WALES - Traditional Coal operations from the Valleys to Swansea Docks with Class 37s.    THE 1990s - the run down of the coal industry and freight operations.   STEAM IN THE 21st CENTURY  - with steam haulage in 2015.    COLLIERY CLOSURES AND THE END OF DEEP MINING - The last trains from Thoresby, Hatfield and Kellingley Collieries.    OPEN CAST OPERATIONS -  With South Wales and Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and Cwmbargoed, plus Onllwyn Washery plus Ayrshire featuring Greenburn and Killock branches.   COAL TO POWER STATIONS - with a round up of duties to Aberthaw, Drax, Fiddlers Ferry, Ratcliffe and Cottam Power Stations with a wide range of freight action.                                Running Time 77 mins
Coal by Rail