Mobile emergency winders were first introduced to British mines just before and during the second world war primarily for use in the event of bomb damage to the permanent winding engines. Fortunately, they were not required for this purpose, but they were soon found to be most useful in the event of accidents in the shafts, or breakdown of winding engines. They have been used on numerous occasions for these purposes.
The early winders were driven by steam, diesel or petrol engines and were generally mounted on heavy trailers, the whole weighing up to 30 tons.
The towing vehicle usually carried essential equipment, such as cages, chains, etc. Some of these machines are still in use and have a lifting capacity of 3 tons. Of considerable interest were two McLaren steam winders based at Rotherham and Wakefield Rescue Stations. These had originally been designed for ploughing purposes, but by modifications were adapted for winding. The engines weighed 20 tons each and were equipped with a horizontal drum carrying 1,000 yd. of A. in. diameter winding rope and a portable frame and pulley to deflect the rope over the headgear. The engines were coat fired and operated at a pressure of 100 p.s.i. which took about 11 hours to attain from cold. The machines had a road speed of 4 to 5 mph. and water and coal were collected from supply points on route to the various collieries. The engines had two gears and when changing to low gear, the engine had to be stopped whilst the driver fitted a horizontal gear wheel onto a squared shaft to effect the charge, which took about 10 minutes.
Modern Diesel Electric Emergency Winder
The new design of diesel-electric winder was introduced with lifting capacities ranging from 3 to 5 tons. The whole outfit weighed approximately 47 tons.
Atkinson Borderer Reg No. KKU 655P
The tractor unit is currently being restored by Gary Kershaw
After the war, a new design of diesel-electric winder was introduced with lifting capacities ranging from 3 to 5 tons. The winder was again mounted on a six-wheeled trailer, but the towing vehicle was used to carry the twin electric generators. The whole outfit weighs approximately 47 tons. Although far superior to the earlier type, these outfits being of the tractor and trailer type are restricted in road speed and can only travel on motorways by special arrangement. They are also difficult to manoeuvre. To overcome these problems, the winders are now being mounted on articulated low load trailers, which can be attached to standard heavy duty tractor units in general use by the NC13. The original tractor units are still used to carry the electric generators. Both units can now travel at normal road speeds and are allowed on all roads without special permission, except where there are local restrictions, such as on certain bridges. The winder units are also considerably more manoeuvrable on site. The first conversion is already in use.
The winders are strategically placed to cover all collieries and are operated by trained men. Exercises are carried out annually at all colleries, when the winders are placed in position and anchored on prepared concrete pads close to the shafts and actual test winds carried out.
A Later Winder seen here at Ilkeston (KVO389P)