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Giant Pit Machines Rumble Back to Life for Science Day



March 20, 2017 - Giant machines from Yorkshire’s lost pits were back up and running for one day only at the National Coal Mining Museum for England.

Visitors got to see and hear some of the museum’s largest and most powerful machines at work and listen to stories from ex-miners who used to operate them during yesterday’s ‘Family Science Day: See How They Run’ event.

Back up running for the day at the museum at Overton, Wakefield, was the 30 ton Dosco Roadheader – which was used to cut roadways in underground mines.

Also back in operation was the Ace coal cutter machine and steam winding engine.

Greg Jones, electrical engineer at the museum, said the event was very popular, with around 2,000 visitors on the day.

He added: “We wanted to show people the type of machinery that used to be used underground on a regular basis.

“Some of the youngsters have been flabbergasted at the size of the machines.”

As the Museum commemorates 70 years since the nationalization of the coal industry and the creation of the National Coal Board (NCB), the scientists and experts of the NCB’s research and development establishments were also celebrated.

Visitors were invited to take part in hands-on experiments run by the museum’s education officer who helped people explore the science of mining in a fun and family-friendly way.

Highlighting the role that ponies and horses played in mining through the centuries, visitors met the ever-popular Eric, Ernie and Finn in the stable yard and heard stories from the horse keepers at the museum.


The event was held on the final day of British Science Week, a nationwide celebration of the best in science, technology, engineering and maths. 


Trevor Chalkley demonstrates the Dosco Roadheader machine as part of the 'See How They Run - Family Science Day at the National Coal Mining Museum for England.

Photo by Tony Johnson