Heritage Railway

Merry-go-Round coal wagon is donated to Chasewater scheme


THE Fire Service College, based in Morton-in-Marsh, has donated its Merry-go-Round hopper wagon to the National Wagon Preservati­on Group (NWPG).

One of a fleet of 11,000 wagons built to move coal from mines to power stations, just 20 now exist, with this rare survivor joining others at the group’s base at its partner organisati­on the Chasewater Railway.

This wagon, No. HAA 351207, was built at Shildon Works in 1966 and is one of the early examples of its class. It operated across several coalfields in its near 40-year working life, ending at Worksop, having its last major exam and repairs in 2002.

It carried coal from Littleton Colliery in Staffordsh­ire; the Chasewater Railway Museum has a collection of items used at Littleton and other local collieries.

Museum curator Barry Bull said: “We now have vehicles covering well over a century of coal transport, from simple wooden wagons and the steam locos that pulled them through to a growing train of these steel hoppers and contempora­ry diesels.”

The college’s director of product Ted O’Brien added: “After spending 20 years at the Fire Service College, where this once common coal wagon had been helping to train firefighte­rs on how to deal with fires or other emergencie­s at rail incidents, the college is delighted to transfer ownership of the wagon to see it find a new home with the NWPG. It will carry on as an educationa­l aid, helping to teach future generation­s about our industrial past and the fire service’s important role in industrial safety.”

The wagons get their name from the continuous movement at walking pace of the trains through top-filling chutes at the mines and onto bottom discharge hoppers at the power stations, the trains going on endless round trips between them.

With the closure of coal-fired power stations and the mines that supplied them, these wagons were scrapped and this important part of our history was nearly lost.

But the group and the Chasewater Railway are building a train of MGR wagons and seek to add more to the eight they now have.

 ?? ?? Merry-go-Round hopper wagon No. HAA 351207, now at Chasewater. NWPG
Merry-go-Round hopper wagon No. HAA 351207, now at Chasewater. NWPG

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