Work­ing on a coal mine

The de­cline of the coal in­dus­try cre­ated a mine of sub­ject mat­ter for mod­ellers…

Model Rail (UK) - - CONTENTS - Words: Chris Gadsby Pho­tog­ra­phy: Chris Ne­vard Art­work: An­drew Mack­in­tosh

The de­cline of the coal in­dus­try in the early 1970s cre­ated a mine of sub­ject mat­ter for mod­ellers such as Tony and Gra­ham Buck­nell, who have cap­tured the era’s char­ac­ter­is­tic grime and dere­lic­tion.

South York­shire. Durham and Northum­ber­land. South Wales. Those are prob­a­bly the first places that would spring to mind when we’re asked to think about the Bri­tish coal in­dus­try. But Scot­land had a huge coal­field, stretch­ing from Ayr­shire in the west right the up to the Fife Coast in the east. It formed a large and im­por­tant part of the Na­tional Coal Board em­pire and yet, in 1958, the NCB an­nounced that 36 of its pits would close. Twenty of these were in Scot­land. That was just the start of even greater down­ward spi­ral.

DISHING THE DIRT

The de­cline of the UK coal in­dus­try has pro­vided mod­ellers with in­spi­ra­tional scenes of dirt and dere­lic­tion to model. These scenes of de­cay are com­ple­mented by the fact that NCB steam out­lasted steam on BR. That led to in­trigu­ing scenes of run-down steam en­gines rub­bing shoul­ders with green and blue diesels. This fas­ci­nat­ing pe­riod in Bri­tish in­dus­trial his­tory caught the imag­i­na­tion of fa­ther and son mod­el­ling team Tony and Gra­ham Buck­nell. “In cre­at­ing my pre­vi­ous layouts and help­ing with other Rochdale MRG layouts, in­clud­ing my dad’s lay­out ‘Eskmuir’ [MR201], I re­alised I wanted to build some­thing with an in­dus­trial theme,” says Gra­ham. This new project would also give Gra­ham the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the world of

“The de­cline of the UK coal in­dus­try has pro­vided mod­ellers with in­spi­ra­tional scenes of dirt and dere­lic­tion to model”

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