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Broughton Brake tunnel, Ollerton, Notts, December 2018

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HughieD

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1. The History
Back in 1961 British Rail opened a four-mile and a half mile single-track branch line to the newly opened Bevercotes Colliery, linking it to the network at Boughton Junction on the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway (LD&ECR) line between Chesterfield Market Place station and Lincoln. Bevercotes was described as the first fully automated colliery and also the first to be fully equipped to load coal into Merry-go-round trains . Trains were fed by four 35-ton weigh hoppers fed from a 4,000-ton storage bunker built by Head Wrightson

The branch left the LD&ECR about a kilometre west of Broughton and turned north. Half of the line was in a cutting, half on a bank and included bridges over the River Maun and River Meden and 2 roads and seven bridges over the railway. The 350 yards (320 m) long Broughton Brake tunnel (known locally as Mummies Tunnel) was just over two miles along the branch. It had portals of brick whilst the interior was near-vertical brick side walls incorporating regular refuges and a segmental arch concrete roof.

The line closed temporarily between January 1962 and August 1965 and saw its last train on 18th June 1993 when the colliery closed, after the removal of coal stockpiles. The branch, including the tunnel, was brought back into use as part of a Network Rail test track during the summer of 2012. The tunnel was to be used as a training environment for on-track machines but the need for re-ballasting meant this never happened and the track was lifted some time in 2017.

2. The Explore
Found myself passing so decided to have a shufty in the fading December light. Sadly, I missed the boat with this one a bit as the track was lifted last year. It’s a very straight tunnel and both portals are non-distinct. However, the cutting the railway is set in is quite impressive and worth the scramble down to.

3. The Pictures

The road bridge:

46427186212_23ca7bed86_b.jpgimg9992 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Under the road bridge:

46427204892_576d942508_b.jpgimg9987 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Graff under the road bridge:

32605772648_588a523b3d_b.jpgimg9986 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The northern portal:

45565163305_e99a0b5c56_b.jpgimg9997 by HughieDW, on Flickr

…and looking back out:

32605620238_cd8f18045a_b.jpgimg9998 by HughieDW, on Flickr

At the mid-way point in the tunnel:

46478082121_32c5137389_b.jpgimg0012 by HughieDW, on Flickr

31538185667_af274bede2_b.jpgimg0023 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Not too sure what this is:

44660978180_c5f5127f78_b.jpgimg0025 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32605358398_eee6c546cc_b.jpgimg0024 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32605282078_019f2289f6_b.jpgimg0029 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Graff at the southern end:

46426954872_8d64de199a_b.jpgimg0009 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The southern portal:

31538316737_895c0157d1_b.jpgimg0004 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The steep-sided cutting to the south of the tunnel:

46478300031_408d8f39e3_b.jpgimg9999 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Electric

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Thanks for the update Hughie. I wonder if they've lifted the track all the way up to Bevercotes?
A few years ago it was still in place up to the NCB/BR boundary 1/2 a mile to the south of the site.
 

HughieD

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Thanks for the update Hughie. I wonder if they've lifted the track all the way up to Bevercotes?
A few years ago it was still in place up to the NCB/BR boundary 1/2 a mile to the south of the site.
Certainly worth a walk in a more sunny day.
More tunnels. This one has nicely built refuges. I've never seen refuges nicely shaped.
Ha ha. Indeed. And weren't they just!
 

Sabtr

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That's an interesting design.
I can't help but think it's screaming out for uplighting on top of the side walls! For some reason I want to ride my motorcycle down that one and make a racket..

In one of the earlier images where you're just inside the tunnel and looking back out at the bridge you'd walked under - what is that strange angled structure that appears to be above the bridge?
Might be obvious but my old tired eyes can't make sense of it!

The unknown object? A mouse ladder..
Nah it looks like a badly rusted gulley cover that's upside down? You put them on large concrete driveways to catch rain water.
 

krela

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In one of the earlier images where you're just inside the tunnel and looking back out at the bridge you'd walked under - what is that strange angled structure that appears to be above the bridge?
Might be obvious but my old tired eyes can't make sense of it!

I was just thinking exactly the same, I don't know if it's the perspective but I just couldn't make sense of it either.
 

Dirus_Strictus

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In one of the earlier images where you're just inside the tunnel and looking back out at the bridge you'd walked under - what is that strange angled structure that appears to be above the bridge?

Oh dear, dear. Obviously not a RAF photo recon interpreter in an earlier life! It is an 18 inch steel girder that carried a water main over the rail cutting. It is situated at natural ground level of the surrounding country side, i.e. the level of the roadway over the bridge in the background. There is an ash/spark deflector attached to the underside, over the mid point of the track. This was to stop the underside of the girder being eroded by fine ash particles and steam.

It should also be mentioned that the 'Merry Go Round' system mentioned in the history, was an utter failure! The intention was to do away with all ground storage stocks of coal at both Pit and Power Station. Coal would be carried in wagons that never stopped moving during the loading and discharge process - hence no need for masses of wagons and miles of sidings; just a few trains continually on the move. Designed by a Committee, it was a load of Bollocks and the system never did work - the wagons froze up in winter and would not discharge, thus coal was put to ground and stockpiled for winter use in the summer. CEGB built a massive freezer unit at High Marnham Power Station and I spent over six summers, along with my CEGB mates, running freezing tests on various coal treatments and wagon mods to try and solve the problem. Trouble was the fine coal had to be washed and because it was wet, froze in winter temperatures. The design of the HAA door closing mechanism meant that when the load froze, the doors would not open. Freezing also happened in the USA and their solution was either to spray the coal with antifreeze or send the frozen trains to warmer States to thaw out! The US Rail Companies were fined very large sums if the coal was not delivered ready for use, thus were happy to pay antifreeze costs. As the UK system was an utter failure and the NCB and CEGB were not willing to spend money on mods or treatment chemicals, vast ground stocks were built up at all the Mega Watt Stations on the river Trent during the Summer months. Little were the BRB and CEGB to know that the abject failure of the system actually saved the Country from a longterm 'Black Out'. When the Miners went on strike, Ground Stocks at the major Power Stations were at their largest ever and careful planning meant that the Country was never plunged into the longterm total darkness envisaged by some!
 

Dirus_Strictus

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Mr Virgin was mucking about and very slow on the 28/12. Hence my duplicate post. If the powers that be can remove this one and tidy up my mess, will make the thread look better!

In one of the earlier images where you're just inside the tunnel and looking back out at the bridge you'd walked under - what is that strange angled structure that appears to be above the bridge?

Oh dear, dear. Obviously not a RAF photo recon interpreter in an earlier life! It is an 18 inch steel girder that carried a water main over the rail cutting. It is situated at natural ground level of the surrounding country side, i.e. the level of the roadway over the bridge in the background. There is an ash/spark deflector attached to the underside, over the mid point of the track. This was to stop the underside of the girder being eroded by fine ash particles and steam.

It should also be mentioned that the 'Merry Go Round' system mentioned in the history, was an utter failure! The intention was to do away with all ground storage stocks of coal at both Pit and Power Station. Coal would be carried in wagons that never stopped moving during the loading and discharge process - hence no need for masses of wagons and miles of sidings; just a few trains continually on the move. Designed by a Committee, it was a load of Bollocks and the system never did work - the wagons froze up in winter and would not discharge, thus coal was put to ground and stockpiled for winter use in the summer. CEGB built a massive freezer unit at High Marnham Power Station and I spent over six summers, along with my CEGB mates, running freezing tests on various coal treatments and wagon mods to try and solve the problem. Trouble was the fine coal had to be washed and because it was wet, froze in winter temperatures. The design of the HAA door closing mechanism meant that when the load froze, the doors would not open. Freezing also happened in the USA and their solution was either to spray the coal with antifreeze or send the frozen trains to warmer States to thaw out! The US Rail Companies were fined very large sums if the coal was not delivered ready for use, thus were happy to pay antifreeze costs. As the UK system was an utter failure and the NCB and CEGB were not willing to spend money on mods or treatment chemicals, vast ground stocks were built up at all the Mega Watt Stations on the river Trent during the Summer months. Little were the BRB and CEGB to know that the abject failure of the system actually saved the Country from a longterm 'Black Out'. When the Miners went on strike, Ground Stocks at the major Power Stations were at their largest ever and careful planning meant that the Country was never plunged into the longterm total darkness envisaged by some!
 
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Black Shuck

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Nice pics. did this a few years back when the track was still down. There were plans afot back then to turn this into a test track of some design. Look like it failed miserably
 

Sabtr

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Ahhh makes sense now. I can just about see it in one of the other images but it does twist the brain a little!

I remember the coal stacks at Blyth Power Station leading up to the miners strikes - at Blyth they had two massive long and high heaps.Each heap was bigger/longer than the two generating units.
The rate that the heaps were built was staggering. They went up so quickly and that power station as you say wasn't alone. Coal production must have been enormous.
Those heaps went down faster than they went up - electricity demand was huge during that winter. Even local factories which relied on coal for steam purposes stockpiled the stuff. Local garment factories filled car parks with it!

RE the coal wagons: Did they manage to 'design away' those freezing gremlins with later designs? I'm wondering whether coal drops worked for other sites such as Drax??

I sometimes wonder whether the links from coal mines to power stations should have copied the Ellington to Lynemouth system. They sent fuel directly from the mine, up a long drift and to the power station. It was all sent via a long (closed over) conveyor.
 

Mikeymutt

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That's a nice old tunnel mate..you are getting through a few of these now.hope your focus is better now on the camera
 

Dirus_Strictus

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Sausage;RE the coal wagons: Did they manage to 'design away' those freezing gremlins with later designs? I'm wondering whether coal drops worked for other sites such as Drax??.[/QUOTE said:
No! If one looks at the HAA wagon side on; you see that the wagon is basically 3 separate opening door units at under frame level, joined onto the full hopper body. One of each pair of doors was opened/closed by the trackside opening/closing mechanism; the other door in the pair was was opened and closed by the actions of a bloody pair of great horns - that were welded to the centre line of the inner surface of each pair of door and stuck up into the centre of the body. A receipt for disaster - the prototype wagon was tested with hand mined coal and worked perfectly. Unfortunately the mechanically mined coal from the new deep mines was much finer (what my Dad used to call 'slack', when complaining about our domestic coal delivery when I was a lad) and as it had to be washed to remove the dust, it retained a lot of water. This residual water froze when the winter temperatures dropped below freezing, and discharge of the load was impossible as the door 'horns' could not cut through the frozen load of coal. So at a time when the power stations were calling out for as much coal as possible - There was a bloody great shortage. Stocks that had been put to ground stocks was difficult to handle, because that froze and was difficult to handle with the equipment available on site. In the days of the old 16 Ton coal/mineral wagons, freezing was still a problem, but many of these wagons were discharged by tippler systems. The sight of a 16 ton frozen block of coal falling from an inverted wagon into a tippler discharge hopper was both a sight to behold and a ground shuddering noise to hear. As I have said earlier; the system put in place to correct the Merry Go Round cock up meant that there was far more ready mined coal available at the start of the miners strike and the envisioned sudden black out did not occur as envisioned. Hairy times to have worked through, all the same!
 

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