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NCB Loco at Backworth

NCB 0-6-0ST at Backworth 1970

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Colliery Steam in the North East

The film shows National Coal Board (NCB) railways in the North East between 1967 and 1970, that used inside cylindered Austerity classes of 0-6-0ST constructed by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorne, Hunslet and Bagnall, and an outside cylindered class of 0-6-0ST constructed by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorne. In the first part, at the collieries of Backworth, Wearmouth (Sunderland) and Ashington during the Summer of 1967, we see trains hauled from the collieries to the British Railways exchange sidings or the NCB wharf on the River Tyne, often using colourful NCB wagons. The locomotives are also shown shunting and standing in Backworth (Eccles) Colliery depot. An LMS Class 4 2-6-0 class is shown hauling coal from Ashington back onto BR lines at Morpeth.

The scene changes to early morning in the winter of 1970. Much of the Backworth railway system has been closed. The film shows steam being used to haul stone in NCB wagons from the washery at Weetslade for tipping at Backworth. Washed coal is also hauled in BR wagons from Weetslade for weighing at Backworth Colliery. Near Backworth exchange sidings, trains cross the former Blyth and Tyne Railway BR line at Earsdon level crossing and operations are briefly suspended while maintenance workers repair the track.

Later in the morning we see locomotives being serviced at Backworth, before glimpsing NCB railway operations in County Durham in February/March, first at Birtley where coal is being hauled by an 0-4-0ST class locomotive from the Ravensworth Park Drift mine to the railhead near Birtley and then delivered by Austerity class 0-6-0ST from the Derwenthaugh railhead to the coke oven at Winlaton. We return to Backworth where we see stone being unloaded from the NCB wagons directly onto the track laid on the spoil tip, leaving earth-movers to spread the stone over the tip after the wagons have been dragged away over the stone.

Later in the day loaded coal wagons are being weighed at Backworth before being dispatched over the BR network. The train moves slowly over the weighbridge allowing each wagon to be weighed individually and its load chalked on the side. The film ends with further views of the Backworth locomotives, including a Robert Stephenson & Hawthorne class 0-6-0T.

This film is featured on the DVD "Britain in the Days of Steam"

Colliery Steam in the North East Date of Film: 1995 16 Minutes

Places and Dates of Identifiable Locomotives:

In August 1967:
Backworth Colliery Nos. 33 (Stephenson & Hawthorne), 4, 69 or 58? (oc, Stephenson & Hawthorne?);
Sunderland Wearmouth Colliery No.2?;
Morpeth LMS Class 4 2-6-0 43063;
Ashington No. 50;

In January 1970:
Backworth Colliery Nos. 46? (oc, probably Stephenson & Hawthorne), 49 (Stephenson & Hawthorne, now preserved at Marley Hill), 6 (Bagnall, now preserved at Brechin), 44 (oc, Stephenson & Hawthorne, preserved on Tanfield Railway), 48 (Hunslet), 47 (oc, Stephenson & Hawthorne, now preserved on Peak Rail as “Moorbarrow”), 60 (oc Stephenson & Hawthorne);
Ravensworth Park Drift Colliery No.?;
Derwenthaugh No. 7, or 58 or 59? (with rounded cab, Hunslet or Vulcan, now all scrapped)

In March 1970: Backworth Colliery Nos. 44 (oc, Stephenson & Hawthorne, now preserved at Marley Hill), 48 (Hunslet), 29 (Stephenson & Hawthorn, works 7607 of 1950)

Backworth in snow

Backworth in the Snow 1970

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