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Transcript Prince of Wales Drift Opening Brochure

Inauguration by H.R.H. Prince of Wales of the Prince Charles Drift Prince of Wales Colliery Pontefract

Wednesday 25th Jun 1980

[A large image of the Prince of Wales Crest - three images of feathers and one crown and the phrase 'ich dien'. Two smaller crests one of a castle in a sheifl 'Post Mortom Patris Pro Filio' and a flower outline with an 'N' 'National Coal Board North Yorkshire Area']



Prince of Wales Colliery is part of the North Yorkshire Area of the National Coal Board. It is situated on the northern edge of Pontefract town in the Metropolitan County of West Yorkshire. The colliery is adjacent to the A639 roadway and immediately south of the M62 motorway within about 1km of junction 32.

[A map of North Yorkshire Area of the NUM highlighting Prince of Wales and Ferrybridge power station and also marking out other pits]


As other sources of energy become less reliable - either through exhaustion or political upheaval - Britain's 'home-grown' energy source, COAL, will take on even greater importance.


Energy experts are agreed that coal will provide the 'lion's share' of Britain's energy needs to the end of this century and well intothe next.


And to meet the market demands the NCB is expanding coal's resources by opening new mines, like the Selby complex; by exploiting new reserves at existing long-life collieries; and in some cases by constructing new mines from old.

A prime example of the latter can be found on the northern edge of Pontefract where the finishing touches are being put to a five year project turning the111-years old Prince of Wales Colliery into a coal mine of the 80s.

Costing around £50 million the project involves a completely­ new surface complex, and fresh reserves of coal will be worked in a new area underground and brought to the surface by drift,thus eliminating the need for the existing shafts and headgear.

[Image of the drift two miners are in the foreground next to some tracks.  Another miner is in the background.  The drift is lit with electric lights]


The 'new' colliery is a drift mine where access to the reserves is by two sloping tunnels 2070 metres long - a far cry from the vertical access shafts of the 'old' mine.


Access roadways to the thicker Warren House seam have been carved-out by huge tank-like machines with their 'gun-barrel' mounted cutting heads forming the profile for the curved arches.


But smaller roadheaders are suitable for the lower height roadway development necessary in the Castleford Four Foot.


Coalface operations in the Warren House seam will be similar to those tried and tested in the Beeston seam.


On each coalface two coal cutting machines form the roadways while a third travels the length of the coalface cutting and loading the coal on to the face conveyor to start its journey out of the mine.


The faces in the Castleford Four Foot will work the retreat system of mining whereby the roadways are driven out to the working boundaries and the faces worked back towards the
drift bottom.


[Image of a miner in an orange jumpsuit driving a header with a large machine.]


The retreat system is showing excellent results throughout the Yorkshire coalfield with productivity two and three times the national average.

The freshly-mined coal will leave the coalfaces on 1000 tonne/hour capacity trunk conveyors to an underground staple bunker. This will even-out coal flow on to the cable belt which runs from bunker to surface along the over-2000 metres long drifts.


But to get coal out of a mine, men and materials must go in!


Men will be ridden down the surface return drift on paddy trains driven by endless rope haulage to insets in each seam. At other times during the day materials will be lowered down the same drift by direct rope haulage.

Both men and materials will be transported from the drift bottom insets to the working places by locomotive.


[Image of a large coal-cutting machine.  Two men are posing for the picture]


Remote Control

As you would expect in a colliery built for the 80s, remote control and monitoring by computers will be utilised to the maximum.


One operator sitting at a console on the surface faced with buttons, dials and TV screens will control all underground movement of coal.


A communication switchboard associated with the remote control scheme gives loudspeaking communication throughout the length of the conveyor system and can be coupled to the coalface systems too.

The coal preparation plant is again in control of one man and his console. TV cameras scan the working area and can pinpoint any likely trouble spots which the operator can correct.


A 'space-age' keyboard is used to give instructions to the computer which can be programmed to start the whole plant automatically or alternatively each drive individually. Two colour visual display units represent parts of theplantinmimicform with each drive changing colour according to whether that drive is running, stood, faulty and on or off computer control.


[Image of an older man on the phone looking at a series of monitors with an extensive keyboard]


A colliery lives or dies on the market potential of the coal it produces and Prince of Wales has a customer who will take all it can produce-the CEGB.


The total output of1¼ million tonnes from the 'new' mine will go to the giant Drax and Eggborough power stations both only a few miles away.


Merry-go-round trains carrying 950 to1000 tonnes each journey will leave the mine at regular intervals throughout the day. A rapid­ loading bunker of 2,500 tonne capacity has been installed for loading trains on the move. Should hold-ups occur stock and reclaim facilities capable of holding 15,000 tonnes have

been installed.

With a market for its coal, produced at high rates of efficiency by a workforce of 780 men, the future for the 'new' Prince of Wales Colliery, and with it the prosperity of Pontefract, is very

bright indeed.

[Image of a number of train carriages full of coal. Colliery buildings are in the background

Who's Who

Production Manager T. Donnelly

Colliery General Manager R W. Blatherwick

Deputy Manager H. Orr
Deputy Manager G. Murray

Undermanager C. B. Butterwick 

Undermanager D.Evans

Mechanical Engineer P. R. Goodall

Electrical Engineer T. Cooper

Surveyor P. Wood

Assistant Manager (Personnel) J.Hopkins

Admin Officer R.E. Greenaway

Safety Engineer H. Goodman


Site Mining Engineer P.J. Cadman


Prince of Wales Project Team
Senior Mining Engineer    R Pyne

Mechanical Engineer    J. Rippon
Electrical Engineer    H. Moorhouse
Planning Engineer    A. Blatherwick


Secretary G. Harrington

President  N. Nelson

Vice President A.Gore

Delegate L. Jones

Secretary R Cunningham
President A. Withington
Treasurer J.Barratt

Delegate F.Hodgson

[Image of interior of colliery building, several large wheels]



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[The back page is gold, with the initials 'NCB']

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