New lease of life for old Parkside Colliery workhorse

Geoff Jones with his pride and joy

How Newton looked after being salvaged

First published in News St Helens Star: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A SMALL but significant piece of the once mighty Lancashire Coalfield is enjoying the easy life 20 years after being made redundant.

When Parkside Colliery closed in October 1993 it seemed like the end of the line would be the scrapman’s torch for Hunslet loco number 8975.

Built in 1979 the six-ton locomotive was named Newton by the National Coal Board and spent all its working life operating in the surface stockyard at the Newton-le-Willows mine.

Which is where former Sutton Rolling Mills employee Geoff Jones stepped in.

“I’d always had an interest in engineering and industrial archaeology,” said 66-year-old Geoff, relating how the yard workhorse was still at Parkside 12 months after the pit closed.

Geoff bought the loco having previously been given permission to store it at the Red Rose Steam Society’s mining museum south of the East Lancs Road at Astley Green.

It was moved from Parkside to Astley Green on November 7, 1994, the anniversary of his wedding to miner’s daughter Jenny (Bromilow) from Parr.

Restoration began immediately and in 2009 the loco was sent to the Hunslet works at Tamworth and its two feet six inches wheel gauge reduced to two feet to suit the track width at Astley.

Newton now earns its keep transporting track and materials during extension work on the museum’s narrow railway.

“It was going to be weighed-in for scrap, the generator, battery and fuel pump were missing but were soon replaced and the loco is now a valuable asset due to its electric starter.”

For the technically minded, Newton is powered by a four cylinder, 3.3 litres, 52 horsepower Perkins diesel engine. It is reputedly the last ex -NCB/British Coal locomotive from the Lancashire Coalfield to be preserved.

l Former Parkside workers with memories of the loco are invited to get in touch with Geoff at or call 01942 708969.


Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree