Site Records


SiteName: Draycott Cross Colliery & the Cheadle Branch Railway

Draycott Cross
Staffordshire
SJ990414

Sub Brit site visit Summer 1991

[Source: Nick Catford]

The southern shafts were never productive and it is doubtful if any coal was ever extracted. The shafts were quickly abandoned and in 1944 one of them was utilised by the Staffordshire Potteries Water Board and is still in use today. The other shaft was capped with concrete.

Photo:One of the blocked adits in Drayton Cross Colliery
Photo by Nick Catford

Park Hall Colliery closed in 1930 and Draycott Colliery probably closed in the 1940's. A 1949 Ordnance Survey map shows the line back to the north portal of the tunnel and the exchange siding are still in place but the half mile of track into the colliery has been removed. Foxfield Colliery was the last survivor, finally closing in 1965.

In about 1983 a privately owned drift mine, known as Draycott Cross Colliery commenced production from adits just inside the southern portal of the old railway tunnel. A new two foot gauge tramway was laid in the tunnel with mine tubs hauled by cable.

Prior to 1988 Draycott Cross Mine was owned by the Costain Group. In July 1988 Europa Minerals bought two Staffordshire Coal Mines from Costain in a 3.3 million cash and share deal. The mines were Draycott Cross and Acres Nook Collieries. The two mines were expected to add 1 million tons of extractable coal to the company's reserves. Europa already owned the Ormondcroft Drift Mine. By 1989 they was hoping to increase production from 500 tons a week to 1400 tons a week (65,000 tons a year)

At that time Europa's strategy was to create a balanced mining finance group with the three coal mining businesses generating the cash to fund their precious metals exploration activities centred in Western Europe and the US. Europa's interests included a joint venture with Hecla Mining, exploring for gold in Montana; a platinum prospect in Bavaria; a joint venture exploration for gold in Alburquerque, Spain; and a gold concession at the mouth of the Pra River in Ghana. Europa also has a 22.7 per cent stake in Dana Exploration, an Irish exploration group, which has interests in Ireland, Ghana and Botswana. Europa's faith in Draycott Cross was, however, short lived. The colliery closed early in 1991 and the land in the vicinity of the colliery was sold and the adits were sealed.

Photo:Overturned mine tubs in Drayton Cross Colliery
Photo by Nick Catford

In the summer of 1991, a few months after closure the railway tunnel was still accessible but it has subsequently been sealed and no further access is possible. There is no external evidence of the mine but when visited in 1991 although in the tunnel some sections of the narrow gauge track were still in place together with the cable haulage system and two upturned tubs. Beyond the adits the abandoned tunnel was deep in mud but could be explored until the midway point where the roof had come in despite the metal hoops, many of which are now badly distorted.

 

Part of the conveyor system at Cheadle Cross Colliery

One of the adits within the railway tunnel

Pulley on the cable haulage sustem

Roof collapse in the middle of the railway tunnel

Cheadle Station in 1991

Cheadle Station in 1991

Cheadle Station in 1992

Cheadle Station in 1992

The end of the track south of Cheadle Station in 1992

Tean Station in 1992

Tean Station in 1992

 

 

For further information on the Cheadle Branch Railway and the Cheadle Coalfield see the Draycott Village Web Site. or read The Cheadle Railway by Allan C. Baker

 

[Source: Nick Catford]

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