"Elizabeth" with four side-tipping "Jubilee" wagons. In the background is the aerial ropeway which took waste to the slag heap between the canal and the river.
Water Haigh Colliery had several small tank engines for shunting wagons and marshalling coal trains. One of their tasks was to push full wagons to a loading basin on the Aire and Calder canal for loading onto Tom Pudding barges which were towed to power stations or the docks at Goole. Their other job was to make up daily trains of coal to be hauled away by mainline engines which normally came from Stourton engine shed.
Dave Fallowfield was one of the colliery engine drivers in the 1950s and 1960s. He came from a farming family and grew up on Water Haigh farm before leaving school to work in market gardening. After he got married he couldn't survive on the low wages so he applied for a job at the pit.
He started as a surface worker in 1954 and graduated first to be a shunter and then a driver. His favourite engine was "Elizabeth" which arrived at the pit in 1927 a few months after the 1926 strike. It was named after the future Queen who was born on 21 April 1926.
Click on the links below to listen to Dave Fallowfield talking about his early life and the engine driving routine.
Click on this link to read an article about Water Haigh published in Railway Bylines magazine.
"Elizabeth" shunts wagons at the colliery "Top End" in 1965. In the background are houses along Eshald Lane, built from bricks made at the Armitage brickworks which was situated just to the left of this scene. The area is now covered by trees. Photo by A T Jones.
"Elizabeth" with the winding gear for one of the two shafts in the background. The wooden bodied railway wagons were used on the internal sidings. The privately owned road lorries behind the engine transported coal to local factories and mills, mainly in the Bradford area. Photo by Derek Rayner.