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Transcript Point of Ayr Drift Opening Brochure

Souvenir Brochure


Point  of Ayr  Colliery

New Drift Opening



Sir Robert Haslam

Chairman, British Coal

[Two images of Point of Ayr, one of the winding gear.  The other of the entrance to the drift]

Drift Ushers in a New Era

Completion of the £15 million drift scheme marks the start of an important new era for the century old Point of Ayr Colliery.


'The four year project. which has involved driving an 800 metres long roadway at a gradient of 1 in 4, and extensive surface modernisation works, has opened the door to a treasure  trove of  undersea reserves.

It was in the Spring of 1978 that a £2 million offshore drilling programme was carried out to assess the pit's potential. The drilling revealed vast new reserves in seven workable seams running under the Dee estuary.

However it quickly became apparent that the existing winding capacity in the No. 3 shaft was totally inadequate if the full potential of those reserves was to be realised.

The decision was taken to embark on a major investment propramme to exploit those reserves and in rease output and efficiency. Associate Tunnelling Company won the dnft contract.       .

Now the drift is a reality and - equipped with 42 ins. conveyors capable of carrying 700 tonnes of coal an hour - the stage is set for an increase in output from the current 450,000 tonnes a year to 600,000 tonnes.

Says Colliery Manager Don Lane: 'The planned increased output was a vital factor in persuading the Corporation to make this substantial investmenet and we shan't let them down.

'The new drfit is of tremnedous importance to the future of the colliery.  As well as improving output and materials handling the drift will also facilitate improved access to the reserves in the northern sector of the mine.

'We are all delighted that hte scheme as gone so well and that we are on course for profitability'


Flashback to 1983 . . . the then Coal Board Chairman Sir Norman Siddall makes the first 'cut' to start the drift project, helped by Operations Director John Northard when he was Western Area Director. With them is former NUM Agent for North Wales Ted McKay.

[Image beneath of the even described, all three men are in suits]

A Major Challenge for the Engineers

Driving the new drift presented minng engineers with a formidable challenge. 

Because of the heay-waterlogged glacial deposits, the initial drivage had to be contained in two massive 'cofferdams' - concrete box-like structures with two-foot thick protective walls up to 32 metres deep.

In addition, the first 120 metres of the drift was driven using a specially designed and

fabricated tunnelling shield supporting the strata by five metre diameter circular concrete segmental linings, grouted into the water bearing strata to ensure a water-tight seal.

Once rockhead was reached, normal colliery arches were used and installed with sprayed concrete secondary linings. Throughout the whole drivage an extensive programme of forward cone grouting and probing ahead for water-bearing strata had to be carried out.


The drivage has been described as an engineering feat unparalleled in the mining industry due to the difficult geological conditions.


In the course of construction about 600 tonnes of steel and 800 tonn es of cement grout were used, and 15,000 cu. metres of dirt were excavated during the drivage.

[Image of a plan of the drift and pit]

Inset: The drift consists of two 'legs' - one of 364 metres and the other 436 metres. It is dog-leg ed so as to intercept the existing No. 1 pit bottom access roadway. The drift dimensions are 15 feet wide by 11 feet high.

The Pit that nearly wasn't...


Water problems nearly sank the Point of Ayr pit way back in 1865. Three boreholes had proved the presence of coal - enough to justify a new colliery - but shaft sinking had to be abandoned when financial problems set in...and the shaft flooded.

However by 1887 the engineers were confident enough about the geological conditions to sink a second shaft having first de-watered No. 1 and having deepened it to 217 yards.

Extensive Modernisation Programme

Point of Ayr Colliery has benfited from some £20 million of investment over the last five years.

Underground, extensive reserves have been developed, a 1000-tonne capacity strata bunker installed, and rubber-tyred, free-steered vehicles introduced for the speedy transportation of materials and equipment.

On the pit top. besides the drift, new ·merry-go-round' rail handling facilities have been constructed a new coal preparation plant has been built; and the overland conveying sytems, surface roads and car parks have been extended and improved. A new control room monitor all the underground mining and transportation systems.

[Two images one captioned 'an underground section of the drift' the image is of the drift, the tunnel, tracks, pipes and wires are visible.  The other caption 'The new control room where all underground operations are monitored'  One person on the phone with a number of monitors]

[Each of the following sections is underneath of the image of the person named.  They are all in suits]

Sir Robert Haslam

Chairman of British Coal

'Money is scarce and has to be invested wisely in schemes that will be of positvie benefit tot he industry in terms of efficiency and low cost output.  At Point of Ayr we have such a scheme and I wish the managemnet and workforce very success for the future'

Mr Jack Evans

Western Area Director

'The drivage of this new drift presented an engineering challenge. The men at Point of Ayr now face another challenge: that of increasing output and improving productivity to make the pit profitahle after capital charges. I am confident the men will meet that challenge'.

Mr. Don Lane

We are on the threshold of a new era at Point of Ayr, and one that with the co-operation of all

concerned, will be a happy and prosperous one. We have a good track record and a good future at this pit. Well done to all concerned'.

Some Facts about the Colliery...


* Point of Ayr employs 640 men - 87% of whom work underground.

* Coal is currently mined frorn a single retreat face in the Stone Coal seam.

*The Colliery was the first in the country to generate its own electricity using methane gas drained from the underground workings.

* 50% of the output goes to power station for electricity generation. The rest goes to local industrial and domestic markets.

* The colliery's prize-winning brass band, sponsored by Eimco, have recently released their first album. They make regular appearances on TV and Radio

[Four images each with descriptive captions] 

'A free-steered vehicle moving chocks during a salvage operation'

'A high-powered shearer in action on the coal face.

'Two ways to travel ..... by locomotive manrider' [image of a number of men in a locomotive]

'and manriding belt' [image of two men on the belt holding onto hand rails]

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