Brampton Railway - Mines

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Brampton Railway - Mines

Brampton Railway - Mines

Blacksyke Colliery - Both Talkin and Tarnhouse had vast reserves of coal and were ripe for development so James Thompson of Kirkhouse directed his attention just west of Forest Head at a place called Blacksyke. Blacksyke Colliery's first shaft was sunk during 1820-1 and went into production in 1822-3 using a steam engine for pumping and coal winding. To serve this Blacksyke colliery a branch line was put in East of Hallbangate climbing in a south westerly direction via a rope hauled line to reach this bleakly sited colliery.

Gairs Colliery - Work began on Gairs Colliery on the bleak windswept fells above Hallbankgate during 1909 and was completed by 1912. Besides the main seam there was a blacksmith shop and screens for sorting the coal. With this new development a further extension of the Brampton Railway was completed with a branch leaving the Blacksyke route near Forrest Head and following the course of the older line to Howgill. Beyond Howgill the new line climbed steeply to Gairs Colliery with gradients of between 1 in 27 to 1 in 18 which was one of the steepest worked adhesion lines in Great Britian at the time. At its peak in 1921 Gairs Colliery employed 180 below ground and 51 above ground and was finally abandoned on 6th September 1936

Howgill Colliery - Another early Thompson project was the Howgill Colliery which was a drift connected to the Blacksyke Branch near Forest Head. Howgill was closed in 1880 but sections of it were worked many decades later to help boost the dwindling coal resources. In 1919 the Naworth Coal Company was again considering fresh mining activities closec to the old Howgill Colliery and the Venture drift was reopened beside the Gairs Branch south of Forest Head which entered the Howgill seam this was called the New Venture Drift. At its peak in 1923 it employed 46 below ground and 16 on the surface and finally closed in 1934.

Roachburn Colliery - New coal reserves were opened out near the railway between Hallbankgate and Tindale the first of these being Roachburn Pit which produced 23,259 tones of coal between 1860 and 1863 its output being loaded into railway waggons from carts at a small tipping dock. The buttreses can still be seen today at the side of the A689 near Tindale. In 1912 Roachburn had produced 21,900 tons of coal but this was to be its last prioduction due to the poor quailty of its coal. At its peak in 1902 it employed 258 people below ground and 85 on the surface and finally closed in 1912. With the closure of the mine at Roachburn the washery at Midgeholme also closed as it used to wash all the coal from the former colliery

Midgeholme Colliery - The Brampton Railway has also been known by other names one such being the Midgeholme Railway which was extended eastwards from Tindale Fell to Midgeholme in 1824 to serve the new pit he had opended there. The pits at Midgeholme were King, Catch, West, East, North and Slag. On 10th August 1837 the famous Rocket which had been purchased by James Thompson of Kirkhouse ran fromm Midgeholme to Hallbankgate a distance of 4 miles in 4 minutes delivering the polling station results for the General Election. At its peak in 1940 Midgeholme Colliery employed 120 people below ground and 40 on the surface and finally closed in 1944.

Lambley Colliery - Lambley Colliery was taken on lease by James Thompson in 1846 and had very good coal potential but due to his poor health he was not keen to open new collieries until the Alston Branch was built. The extension of the line accross Hartleyburn Common was built and in operation by late 1849. At its peak in 1957 Lambley Colliery employed 155 people below ground and 29 on the surface and finally closed in 1957.


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