Click the thumbnails for a larger picture; use the slideshow and back / forward controls to navigate
1973 - 1980
Cadley Hill, near Swadlingcote in south Derbyshire, was a great place - not especially scenic, not particularly photogenic - but it retained, and used, steam well after everywhere else had been dieselised. I believe it was the last "normal" standard gauge steam in the UK.Quite why, I was never entirely sure - perhaps the manager, or someone else significant, was a steam enthusiast. That would maybe explain the visiting arrangements - there was no need to write in advance, just turn up "on spec" and sign the indemnity book.There was a diesel, of course - a fairly standard Sentinel. But it didn't seem to be very reliable... Steam locomotives were Cadley Hill No 1, a Hunslet "Austerity" no 3851 of 1962, "Progress", a most attractive RSH no. 7298 of 1946, and "Empress", a rather fine Bagnall 3061 of 1954. Sadly, I never saw either of the latter
in action - it was always "Cadley Hill No. 1" - and on a couple of occasions towards the end, the Sentinel...The four locomotives detailed above were joined by several others over the years - some of these are seen below, including yellow no. 65, HE 3889 of 1964, the second-last steam locomotive built for normal UK industrial service. "Swiftsure"- Hunslet 2857/1943, had arrived from Dodworth Colliery (Barnsley)* when I visited in April '76, but I’ve no idea what’s under the sheets behind it. The Giesl oblong ejector indicates the presence of Empress's sister locomotive WB3059 of 1953, ex-Florence Colliery, Stoke-on-Trent - "Florence No. 2". And on my last visit, in August 1980, a yellow Ruston diesel stood in the shed (544875 of 1968). Meantimes, Swiftsure has had a coat of paint. I'd be grateful to anyone who can help with identifying the "unknowns"...* Thanks again to Frank Webster
April 1973: Cadley Hill No. 1 in action
25 June 1974: More action with Cadley Hill No. 1; Empress stands outside the shed; Progress rests within.
April 1976: "Florence No. 2" (that looks like a Giesl Ejector to me), Progress and Cadley Hill No. 1 are all in the shed - someone has got the Sentinel going! Meanwhile, others (Swiftsure et al.) are gathering
August 1976: No. 65, Florence No 2, and "Progress"
20 August 1980: Last visit...
I'm not certain when steam was last used at Cadley Hill; I believe it may have been the following year (1981). The pit closed seven years later, on March 25, 1988, marking the end of deep coal mining in South Derbyshire. What happened to the locomotives?•Cadley Hill No. 1 is at the Snibston Discovery Park•Empress went to Mangapps Farm Railway Museum; she is now at Blaenavon•Progress returned to the north-east, to the Tanfield Railway, before going to the National Coal Mining
Museum at Caphouse Colliery, near Wakefield•Florence No. 2 went back to Staffordshire - to Foxfield•Swiftsure went to Bodmin, then the Strathspey Railway, before ending up at the Nene Valley•No 65 went to the Rutland Railway Museum, then to Peak Rail