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.