Jump to content

Coal Railways and Mines (2 vols)


Recommended Posts

Coal Railways and Mines subtitled The Colliery Railways of the Newcastle District and the Early Coal Shipping Facilities by Brian Andrews has just been released by the Australian Railways Historical Society at a bargain AUD 275.


My copy (finally!) arrived last Monday and I have spent every free moment since devouring the contents.


The book consists 1150 pages (including indexes) and are printed on good quality paper. It is very similar to the earlier Coal Railways and Mines - Railways of J&A Brown released some years ago? 


As stated on the cover it deals with the colliery railways located in & around Newcastle. All the collieries described closed many years ago & details are scarce for many.


Whilst the railways are important in these volumes, the railways are secondary to the development of the collieries. This helps place the railway in context, and rightly so, as the companies saw the railways as tool to get the coal from the mine to the customer - not their primary business (vide Wallsend Railway dealings with NSW Railways re carriage of passengers and general goods)


The contents are brilliant & have cleared up a few areas of confusion I had - collieries changing name, owner, and feeder railway - many with very very similar names eg Australasian Coal Mining Company - For that alone 10/10.


The author has taken the time to redraw the colliery track layouts rather than include the 'official' signalling diagrams, which makes the diagrams easier to read.


Each major colliery or district is introduced with a map showing the major features & railways in the vicinity to allow the reader to place it within context, and then a general history of the the development of the relevant collieries, and changes to the railway over time. There are numerous contemporary photographs which have been cleaned up ? - I have about a 100?  photo subset of the 100's of colliery photos the author has included?  in my collection, and the published photos, although smaller ? seem to show a lot more detail than mine printed of the original negs do. The author has also managed to turn up views of collieries I had not seen before (and this is after I spent a fun week at the old NSW Mines Department ? museum rummaging through the 50 *4 drawer filing cabinets in the photography archive many years ago).


My only criticism is that the maps do not have a small scale bar to allow the reader to appreciate how close some of the railways really were.


Given the author has dealt with the J&A Brown system, and in these volumes with the Newcastle District, I hope he turns his attention northward to the South Maitland Coalfields and those of the Upper Hunter.









Link to post
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...