1984 - Page 7
Shirebrook became the focus of national attention because coal was produced and the NCB launched ‘battle buses’ whose drivers were protected by crash helmets. A cache of stones and some pieces of railway line were found hidden near a 30 feet (9m) high railway bridge on the Nottinghamshire / Derbyshire border and it was believed that it was ammunition to throw at the buses as they passed. Court successes by Nottinghamshire miners spurred the Derbyshire miners to persuade a High Court judge to ban the NUM from disciplining men going back to work.
Above right is a burnt out bus and on the left women pickets at Shirebrook bus stop.
South Normanton Lorry Depot Damage
Around 200 pickets congregated and some hurled rocks and stones through the windows of a bus and 15 coal lorries at the South Normanton depot, causing about £4,000 worth of damage. It was absolutely futile and completely dangerous and stupid. The money lost to replace the vehicles etc could only come out of a dwindling pot, adding to further reduction of coal supplies and loss of the public’s trust and respect. Local coal merchants were dwindling by the day. The damage to relationships and communities was incalculable and the results would be seen as pointed out later.
The damage to the underground workings at some pits was beyond repair and access, and many panels had to close losing valuable equipment. Time, effort and money to keep some pits open put them into jeopardy of closing whereas they had not been on the list of closures. Don't forget, many mines sunk in the last century were only planned to have a lifetime of say 75 to 90 years maximum and many had exceeded this and some had almost doubled it. (see dates).
The High Main seam at Newstead (South Nottinghamshire) was abandoned due to the ever-increasing dirt thickness.
Plastic Ventilation Tubing
A new ventilation system of GRP (light weight plastic) tubes was installed at Ollerton (North Nottinghamshire) in the new 1in4 dipping Third drift. The lightweight tubes compared with the old steel tubes were (13 feet x 3 feet) 4m long x 900mm dia, to provide exhaust ventilation for 1,700m in the drivage and of course much easier to install and extend as the heading advanced.
First Underground Seismic Survey
An underground in-seam seismic survey was carried out for the first time in the region, in July 1984 at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire). As Surveyor and particularly interested in the project I set out a series of holes about 5 feet (1.5m) deep marked out at 6 yards (5m) apart and were drilled into the coal seam in 1s Gate and small charges (4oz pellets) were exploded by a Shotfirer in every other one, and the results were captured through monitors positioned in the other holes. Plotting of the results later by the Geologists determined whether faulting was within 220 yards (200m). A shock face was sent forward by the blast and if there was no disturbance then there was no return wave, however if there was a fault in front greater than the seam thickness then a wave would bounce back off the fault plane and would be registered and the shorter the time for the signal to come back from a disturbance the nearer it was. This first exercise took 1½ shifts. Later surveys on working faces using the knowledge gained, were able to be done in about half a shift (3½ hours), and proved valuable in determining fault positions, so that extra timber etc could be got to the site before the fault was reached. Surface seismic surveys had been carried out for many years but could only determine large disturbances at depth and were treated with suspect.
Rotating Probability Screen
Also at Ollerton, a Ro-Pro (Rotating Probability Screen) by MRDE was installed on the Coal prep plant. A screen was developed to extract fine coal less than 6mm from raw coal sized up to 100mm. It was installed as part of the plant to produce a blend of untreated fine coal and washed coal for the CEGB.
Walkie Talkies at Cadley Hill
At Cadley Hill, South Midlands, a more advanced system of walkie-talkie using repeaters, was installed in 1984 providing 2-way speech and also signalling and control channels for cable-hauled manriding trains. The World’s first VHF radio system underground was installed in 1960 at Longannet, Scotland using standard walkie-talkie between surface control and men patrolling the 9km of underground conveyor belts.
Preparation Work For Asfordby New Mine
Preparation work began clearing the site for the new Asfordby mine in the Vale of Belvoir Coalfield.