Seaham 1980s

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NCB Trains at Seaham, 1980s.

In the late 1980 I was based in Durham and sought out some of the railway activity around the remaining coal mines.  By then it was almost too late since the mines were coming to the ends of their lives, accelerated after the miners strike of 1984-5.  The main attraction was Seaham where there had been two rope-worked inclines to lower wagons of coal from collieries to the harbour, and spoil to be dumped in the sea.  Alas, by now one had recently closed but the other, from Seaham colliery, was still in use, but rope haulage had ceased in 1965 and it was now being operated by adhesion using diesel locomotives.  Nevertheless, this incline with its route through the centre of Seaham to the harbour and Dawdon colliery was still interesting and was the subject of several visits, resulting in the photographs shown here.

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NCB Barclay 0-4-0 diesel next to the crossing over North Terrace to Seaham harbour, 7/6/86.

NCB Barclay 0-6-0 diesel in the centre of Seaham with a train of wagons which have come down the incline from Seaham colliery

NCB Barclay 0-6-0 diesel in the centre of Seaham with a train of wagons which have come down the incline from Seaham colliery, 3/10/86.

Seaham Harbour Co. 0-6-0 diesel coupling to train which has come down the incline from Seaham colliery

Seaham Harbour Co. 0-6-0 diesel coupling to train which has come down the incline from Seaham colliery, 3/10/86.

Seaham Harbour Co. 0-6-0 diesel shunting locomotive crossing over North Terrace, Seaham

Seaham Harbour Co. 0-6-0 diesel and train crossing over North Terrace, Seaham, 3/10/86.

NCB 0-6-0 diesel shunting locomotive crossing over North Terrace, Seaham

NCB 0-6-0 diesel and train crossing over North Terrace, Seaham, 3/10/86.

Clearing up the aftermath of a train running away at Seaham

Clearing up the aftermath of a train running away at Seaham, 25/4/87.

The following photographs were all taken on a visit on 15/6/87.

NCB 0-6-0 diesel starts down the incline with a train from Seaham colliery towards Seaham harbour

NCB 0-6-0 diesel starts down the incline with a train from Seaham colliery towards Seaham harbour.

NCB 0-6-0 diesel heading down the incline with a train from Seaham colliery towards Seaham harbour

NCB 0-6-0 diesel heading down the incline with a train from Seaham colliery towards Seaham harbour.

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NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive with a train of empty wagons in the centre of Seaham.

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive propels a train of empty coal wagons up the incline from Seaham harbour to Seaham colliery

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive propels a train of empty coal wagons up the incline from Seaham harbour to Seaham colliery.

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Class 56 Co-Co diesel locomotive stands at the front of a loaded coal train on the exchange sidings from British Rail to the incline from Seaham colliery.

Class 56 Co-Co diesel locomotive no. 56128 propels the loaded coal train onto the British Rail Seaham to Sunderland line

Class 56 Co-Co diesel locomotive propels the loaded coal train onto the British Rail Seaham to Sunderland line.

Guards riding van

The guards riding van.

Class 56 Co-Co diesel locomotive starts a loaded coal train from Seaham towards Sunderland

Class 56 Co-Co diesel locomotive starts a loaded coal train from Seaham towards Sunderland.

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive propels a train of empty coal wagons up the incline from Seaham harbour to Seaham colliery

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive propels a train of empty coal wagons up the incline from Seaham harbour to Seaham colliery.

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive propels a train of empty coal wagons up the incline from Seaham harbour to Seaham colliery

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive propels a train of empty coal wagons up the incline from Seaham harbour to Seaham colliery.

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive parked in front of the screens at Seaham colliery

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive parked in front of the screens at Seaham colliery.

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive no. 20-110-704 at Seaham colliery,

NCB 0-6-0 diesel locomotive no. 20-110-704 at Seaham colliery.

One of the two sets of headgear (the low pit) at Seaham colliery

One of the two sets of headgear (the low pit) at Seaham colliery.

One of the two sets of headgear (the high pit) at Seaham colliery, with a partially scrapped 0-6-0 diesel locomotive

One of the two sets of headgear (the high pit) at Seaham colliery, with a partially scrapped 0-6-0 diesel locomotive.

Notes:

Seaham colliery had opened in 1859 with coal being lowered down to the harbour using a self-acting rope-worked incline (loaded wagons going down pulling the empty wagons up).  Rope-working was abolished in 1965 when diesel shunting locomotives were allowed to take over the duties of leading the full wagons down to the harbour (not without mishaps) and propelling the empties back up to the colliery.

The colliery was merged and combined underground with the nearby Vane Tempest colliery in 1982, with all coal and being wound from Seaham.

All traffic on the incline ceased from 17/7/87 when British Rail took over all coal and spoil movement, and the incline track was lifted in 1988.

The Seaham/Vane Tempest Combined Colliery closed in October 1992 and both sites were demolisged soon afterwards.

 

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