South Crofty Mine Underground 16: This page containing images of some of the Locomotives used in South Crofty to transport the mined material. All were electric powered, these lived underground in the many charging bays scattered around the workings.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.1 – A miner taking time for a chat with the loco driver.
Paul “Winja” Coppinger has written a few words about the locos used at South Crofty:
When I started at South Crofty in 1985 they had several different types of underground locomotives. We operated some diesel 5 ton locos that where powerful but left an acrid smell in the air, as you could imagine. Not nice in a confined space.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.2 – A miner happily riding his loco along the drive. The water splashing from the wheels added a nice touch. The driver is possibly Phil Vokins a mine fitter.
There were also the smaller battery powered ones called Bev’s. These had a pan that you stood in and hoped you didn’t fall out. Many did. These where eventually replaced with 1 and half ton Clayton’s which where safer and had a pan that surrounded the driver up to the waist. They also had a dead man’s handle that would cut the power if you let go of the control.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.3 – Another miner with a full load of mined rock heading for an ore pass.
These locos were used on all working levels unlike its bigger cousin, the 5 ton Clayton. These were too big to be used on the upper levels due to the narrowness of the drives so were consequently used primarily on 380 fathoms and below.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.4 – A pair of miners off to their working bay on a Clayton Locomotive. Probably not the best way to transport explosives, on top of a big electric motor.
Another safety function of the big Clayton was its dynamic breaking. This would enable you to stop much more easily and quickly than the smaller versions. These could travel up to 20 miles an hour. Plenty fast enough given the type of conditions they had to work in.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.5 – A miner approaching a set of points while his mate waits in the locomotive.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.6 – Moving the points is proving to be a bit difficult, these were not uncommon problems.
Each level had an ore pass where the mined broken rock was dumped. These were connected to the main crusher where the material was crushed to sub 150mm. Consequently more ore could be put into the skips for the journey to grass. Above all not a penny could be wasted for the cash strapped mine. The rest of the images on this page are of the emptying of the wagons at various locations within the mine.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.7 – Each production level had its own ore pass, in this image a miner is looping a wire rope around a winch motor.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.8 – With the wire rope attached the overhead winch starts to do its work.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.9 – A final image of these miners, the Granby wagon is tipping over, when it reached a certain point the side wall would automatically open.
The next set of images were taken on the 445 Fathom Level Ore Pass. This was a very busy place at the time because the 445 Level was one of the main production areas for the mine.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.10 – The empty ore pass waiting for the next customer to arrive. The winch to tip the wagons is on the right hand side of the image.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.11 – A Clayton Locomotive arrives, pulling a full load.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.12 – The first wagon is lined up for the winch. The hydraulic controls for the winch are on the left of the image.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.13 – The second miner attaches the hook to the side of the Granby wagon.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.14 – The driver watches as the second miner starts to tip the full load into the ore pass.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.15 – The last wagon is lined up for emptying.
The next images are of the same ore pass (445 Fathom) form the other side. These show the two miners emptying a set of Granby wagons.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.16 – The first wagon is lined up alongside the ore pass, and the lifting chain is prepared.
South Crofty Mine Underground 16.17 – The winch hook has been attached to the Granby wagon. The hydraulics operated by the miner on the right are lifting the tipping mechanism. The side of the wagon is just starting to open.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.18 – The wagon side is now fully open and the load of broken rock is dumped into the ore shoot.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.19 – The now empty wagon is lowered back into position.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.20 – The locomotive driver now brings the next wagon alongside the ore pass.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.21 – Once again the same process of hooking and winching the wagon to empty the full load.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.22 – The final wagon is moved into the required position.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.23 – The contents are tipped down the ore pass.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.24 – The controls for the hydraulic winch can be clearly seen.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.25 – All the wagons having been emptied the miners prepare to return to their pitch.
Not everything goes to plan, the next images show a 2 1/2 Ton Granby Wagon being emptied at another ore pass. On this occasion the tub has separated fro the chassis, thus causing a few issues for the miners.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.26 – On reaching the ore pass the wagons were emptied by using the hook attached to an electric hoist. The miner closest to the camera is Peter Barnes, in the background Dave Buzza. Not everything always goes to plan, on this occasion the wagon has separated from its wheels whilst being tipped.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.27 – Having attached the hook to the wagon the miners had hoped for a simple conclusion.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.28 – It would appear to be the time for brute force.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.29 – This is the 360 Fathom Cooks Station ore pass. The miner is attaching the hook to tip the wagon of ore down the chute.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.30 – All the wagons emptied and the miner heads back towards the locomotive.
The final images on this page are of riding the loco. These image was taken whilst I hung on for dear life on the back of a wagon. We often caught a lift when we had a large distance to cover. On most occasions we were on the way to the ore pass where the rock would be emptied.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.31 – This was one of the first times I rode the loco. This time the wagons were empty, it was truly a terrifying experience. On the left of the image is the end of a compressed air line.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.32 – The side passage these wagons went through were very tight. For a passenger at the back, you had to be ready to duck.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.33 – These last two images on the page are of the same two miners driving the loco we were sneaking a lift on. It was not as if the loco’s went slow, on the contrary these things hurtled along the passages as time was money.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 16.34 – This final image is the best of the lot. This one was particularly difficult to get right in the darkroom, having spent over an hour on the one print I think it was worth it.
South Crofty Mine Underground 17