Whittle and Shilbottle Colliery Railways

The earliest collieries at Shilbottle were to the north of the village and were linked to Alnwick by means of wagonways or tramways. Later both Shilbottle and Whittle collieries became linked to the east coast main line by means of substantial branch line railways on which wagons were hauled by, first of all, steam engines, and later by diesel locomotives. The coal was of very high quality and was taken away as far as London.  Coal for Buckingham Palace was painted white in the coal wagons to prevent theft whilst it was in transit!  In addition there was a ‘landsale site’ where local coal merchants could obtain coal for local sales.

Locomotive number 45 hauls a train of coal-laden hopper wagons away from Shilbottle colliery and towards the exchange sidings at the side of the main line where a British Railways engine will haul the coal to its final destination.
A powerful modern steam engine shunts National Coal Board hopper wagons at Shilbottle Colliery.
Eventually diesel locomotives replaced the collieries’ steam locomotives.  Here, at Whittle Colliery, a Barclay shunter manoeuvres some hopper wagons beneath the screens where coal was graded into different size lumps.