Modernising Underground Coal Haulage
BHP Newcastle Collieries – Electric Railways
by Ross Mainwaring
ISBN 0 909340 36 6
This book describes Broken Hill Proprietary Company Ltd’s (BHP) Burwood, Lambton, and John Darling collieries in the Newcastle area of New South Wales. It records the introduction of mechanical coal cutters, coal loading machines, and the use of battery and trolley-wire electric locomotives, mostly on 3 ft 6 in gauge track. It also describes the operating procedures and difficulties involved with working trains in confined conditions on steep grades. On a lighter note, it describes the activities of playful train crews, and the unexpected hazards associated with underground tea trolleys!
In the early 1920s BHP decided that modernisation of the notoriously conservative coal industry was essential. Newcastle steelworks had been temporarily closed due to the inability of the Company to meet competition from imports. The high cost of coal was one reason for this. Until this time, underground coal mines used manual coal extraction, and transport by small coal skips hauled by horses and endless rope. BHP made the decision to own their own coal mines, and make the operations as efficient as possible.
Soft cover, 60 pages, A4 size, 18 photographs, 13 maps and diagrams.