Sunday, 18 August 2013

Astley Green Colliery Museum

Yesterday we visited the East Lancashire Railway again, and popped into the Fusilier Museum in Bury - well worth a visit, and the rainy weather didn't detract too much from our day. Cable thieves had prevented the Manchester Metrolink Tram from running between Victoria and Crumpsall in the morning and we had to use the tram-replacement bus, but by our return in the evening to Altrincham and then the 88 bus from there to Wilmslow, that had been repaired.

The weather looked more promising for today, so we fired up the little bikes and headed..... to the Bollin Fee in Wilmslow! We had planned a day at the Astley Green Colliery Museum but that doesn't open until 13:30, so we called at the 'Fee' on the way for a late breakfast and cup of tea before we set off. That would obviate the need to take any lunch with us.

From the 'Fee' we rode through Morely Green, Mobberley, Ashley, Hale, Bowden, Dunham, and over the Manchester Ship Canal on the Warburton high level bridge. From Irlam we headed over Chat Moss on narrow and pot holed dirt tracks direct to Astley, arriving just after the museum had opened.

Me and the bikes at Astley; C90, Townmate, SS50

Astley N0.1 pit head gear towers over the site

The winding engine for No.1 pit is still in place - a double tandem compound of 3,300hp

I take a look at the right hand low pressure cylinder's Corliss valve gear on the winding engine

Malc examines the right hand side of the engine

Me and Malc by the winding drum, between the two halves of the engine

Malc, in front of the left hand high pressure cylinder

A nicely restored Hunslet 2 foot gauge locomotive that runs on about half a mile of track at the Astley site.

The Hunslet was hauling a waggon load of Japanese Knot weed that had been pulled up at the bottom end of the site. It was transferred to the dumper truck for disposal.

The Astley No.1 pit head gear and engine house

Malc chats up a lady he found hanging around the museum

Astley is a superb place, with a great deal of mining-related memorabilia. The star of the museum is undoubtedly the giant pit winding engine, but there are also many displays related to mining, a large mine locomotive selection, industrial machines, and much, much more. It's well worth a visit!

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