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Technical | Above-ground  > Waste handling

Section under development

The waste from the initial sinking and opening-out operations was deposited across the old Windmill Lane which ran to the northeast of the colliery. This waste tip was subsequently overlain in order to provide empty-wagon shunting sidings for the North and South screens.

During the years of hand-working the waste raised to the surface was kept to a minimum. Rock arising from coal extraction and roadway advance was used to create packs to help support the roof whilst dirt  occurring in bands in the coal seam was discarded at the face itself by the colliers when they loaded the tubs. Bat may well have been difficult to distinguish and was probably separated on the screens.

By 1899 the dirt was being deposited on two tips running above and below the North screens alongside the Midland Railway cutting. It was carried in tubs which were hand tipped. The tubs were hauled up the tips along trackways which emerged from below ground alongside the railway. How they arrived at this point is unknown.

PLeasley Colliery 1890

500ft contour showing outline of NE sinking tip circa 1875  (JST)

tips 1899

N, W and  NE tips circa 1899  (JST)

north tip 904 -s

Dirt tubs on the north tip circa 1904  (FoPP/JST)

By 1916 the increased level of dirt production following the upgrade to the South pit in 1900 had just about consumed the available land on the original site. The empties siding to the NE had been widened and the remains of the original sinking tip had been completely covered.  A new tip began to be developed to the SW in the small valley cut-off between the embankments of the Great Northern main railway line and its sidings into the colliery yard.  This tip then remained in use until the 1930s when it was superseded by an aerial ropeway.

tips 1916 -s2

Tip sites circa 1916  (JST)

By the early 1930s the space available for disposal of dirt was exhausted and with an anticipated increase in dirt production arising from the proposed washery installation it was decided to expand across the Midland Railway to the north of the colliery.  In order to do this a bi-cable aerial ropeway capable of handling 100 tons of waste per hour was constructed by  D.Y.R.White and Sons (Engineers) Ltd.

The ropeway consisted of  a number of  steel buckets which were carried by jockey wheels running on a steel rope suspended on latticework steel towers, the buckets being drawn along by second rope. The last tower supported a steel frame carrying a rope-wheel and rail for returning the buckets and was held upright against the pull of the ropeway by steel bracing cables attached to a large concrete block secured to the bedrock.

 The buckets were hung between a pair of steel arms and hinged in such a way as to make them top-heavy when loaded.  A simple release-catch held them upright until at some point along the ropeway a release arm, attached to the suspension rope, operated the catch and the bucket tipped. It then continued along to the end of the suspension rope, round the return frame and back to the loading bay where it was righted, the catch reset and the bucket parked ready for another load. The tip was extended by periodically moving the release catch further along, the steel towers gradually being buried as the tip built up around them.

aerial rope bucket

Aerial ropeway bucket (JST)

aerial rw end tower -m

Aerial ropeway return tower(JST)

aerial rw gripper -s

Bucket rope gripper (JST)

aerial rw tipping -s

Tip developing between towers (JST)

The loading bay and rope drive-motor were located on the NW side of the North screens. The ropeway was carried directly over the railway cutting which was protected by a light bridge. It then turned and ran along the N side of Midland Railway cutting. Stone and ROM dirt were delivered to a holding bunker by a conveyor from the screens ready to be loaded into the waiting buckets.

1932 dirt bunker -s

Aerial ropeway loading bay and dirt bunker   circa 1932  (FoPP/JST)

Aerial ropeway 1938

Aerial ropeway layout  circa 1938  (JST)

When the washery was installed  in 1939 some means of transporting its dirt output was required. This was achieved by conveying the dirt from the washery in railway wagons which were emptied by a tippler alongside the North-pit screens. It was then raised by bucket elevator into the dirt bunker holding the output from the screens and the pits.

The dirt output was now increasing markedly and by 1945 the tip alongside the Midland Railway had been filled and a second one alongside it was well on its way.  With the introduction of power-loaders in the South pit in 1946 the dirt was no longer seperated at the coal-face but now went to the washery whose output again increased.  By the spring of 1947 the ropeway for a third tip had been constructed and began operation. When the use of power-loading was extended to the North pit, dirt increased even further and this was supplemented by the stone excavated during the development of the new pit bottom and workings in the Dunsil and Waterloo seams.

north screens 1950

North screens and aerial ropeway loading bay  - 1950  (JST)

aerial ropeway 1954
aerial ropeway 1953

Main tip  - 1953  (JST)

Main tip  - 1954  (JST)

In order to cope with the considerable increase in the dirt as more mechanisation was introduced on the coal-face, a conveyor system was installed on the tips. The dirt was segregated at the bunker by inclined grids, the small dirt passing to the aerial ropeway and the large lumps via a chute to the dirt tip conveyor system.  The main reason for employing two systems was because the aerial ropeway could not deal with the large ROM dirt and the conveyor could not deal with the total output. 18 men were required to operate this system, mainly on the day shift.

By 1959 the average dirt output for the colliery was about 1,200 tons  made up of:

    • Washery dirt        :            660 ton
    • Screen dirt         :            110 ton
    • Other dirt          :            430 ton

In 1960 the system of transporting the washery dirt in wagons was replaced by a conveyor system running from the washery and delivering into the storage bunker.

aerial ropeway 1960

Colliery, main tip and coal stockyard - 1960  (JST)

In the early 1950s, the old SW tip was re-shaped to create a settling pond and, in 1960, in order to increase the availability of settlement ponds for the larger volumes of water now being circulated through the washery, the gap between the ends of the first and second tip along Longhedge Lane was sealed using material from the third tip.

Shortly afterwards a large dirt bunker was constructed on the North side of the LMS railway line and the aerial ropeway and tip conveyor were discontinued. They were replaced by dump trucks operating along a graded haul road constructed up the old tips.

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