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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 41 - Summer 1980
Two Outings From Quainton - Roger and Sandy Wornham
On 12th April 1980, a party of 38 members and friends left our QRS centre by coach for a trip to Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum, near Stoke-on-Trent, and then on to the Crich Tramway Museum in Derbyshire.
On arrival at Chatterley Whitfield we were all issued with a hard hat, lamp and our own respirator. We were then divided into parties of ten and taken to the mine entrance, each group having an ex-miner as guide.
We went down the Winstanley shaft in a cage, which just contained the eleven of us, and dropped at a rate of 7ft. per second. At the foot of the shaft, some 700ft. underground, our tour commenced. We were shown coal mining techniques throughout the ages - from men with picks to modern automated coal cutting machines - and learnt many other facts about mining. The tour was particularly interesting to us as steam railway enthusiasts, because the coal from Chatterley Whitfield was widely used by British Railways in steam days, the decline of steam being one of the reasons for the closure of the colliery.
We were underground for about 1½, hours, before being brought up by the cage again. Most people went into the shop and obtained their certificate, signed by their guide, stating they had been down the mine. Lunch was then eaten before leaving for Crich Tramway Museum, and we took a very hilly route - suggested by a member of the party. The coach objected to these inclines and had to be pushed up the hills, but we arrived safely and had a very enjoyable afternoon riding on and examining many different trams in various stages of restoration. The museum site is well designed and laid out, giving visitors the opportunity of riding along the edge of a stone quarry, with excellent views across the Derbyshire countryside. It is even possible at Crich for a visitor to take a course in tram driving, though none of our members took advantage of this offer. The weather was very kind to us and everyone had an interesting insight into streetcar history.
Our second outing took place on 24th May 1980, when a party of 52 members and friends left Quainton by coach for the Rocket 150 Rainhill Trials near Liverpool. Our arrival was well arranged, to allow sufficient time to visit the 'attractions' area or the refreshment tent, before taking our reserved seats in the sun. Soon we were waiting patiently for the start of the re-enactment of the Rainhill Trials, which were to take place before the cavalcade. But then there was an announcement that Rocket had been derailed three times and would not be appearing, although it was hoped that a run would be made by Sans Pariel at the end of the cavalcade if it could be got out past Rocket. The start of the cavalcade would also be delayed, as the derailment had taken place where the lines from Bold Colliery joined BR's Manchester to Liverpool main line cast of Rainhill.
The cavalcade duly took place, a wonderful sight, when every spectator saw their own personal favourite engine and coaches pass by, all beautifully polished to the highest possible standard - with the exception of the Advanced Passenger Train, which needed a good wash above the window line! Novelty, which had failed the day before, was conveyed down the course on a well wagon behind the Black 5 LMS 5000. When the procession had reached Rainhill station, Sans Pariel was then pulled down the course by a class '08' diesel shunter, which was detached, and Sans Pariel allowed to make an unaided run back to Bold Colliery. This was successfully accomplished and the cavalcade returned to Bold at a much faster pace than on the outward journey, many locos pulling the stock of the preceding exhibit. This went well until near the end, when a delay began to build up near our stand at the Manchester end of the course. Hardwicke, the beautiful LNWR locomotive, was brought to a stand and was run into by the Lancashire and Yorkshire tank No. 752. As luck would have it, the damage was mainly confined to the oak buffer beams of both locomotives and neither was derailed. As a precaution, the immaculate Springs Branch steam crane did move down the course on the other track in case it was needed, but the L&Y tank was able to leave the scene attached to the Midland Spinner, No. 673..
An interesting coincidence was that the coal used for the trials had been specially mined at Chatterley Whitfield..
Everyone returned to the coach very happy after a most interesting and worthwhile day, our only regret being that Quainton was not represented in the cavalcade this time! Our thanks are offered to the organiser and drivers for two most enjoyable and safe days.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 17 November 2017