Please visit the shop if you wish a copy of any of our photographs or if the image is not for sale please contact us.
logo

Castlebridge Colliery

  • Castlebridge Colliery Tower
    Castlebridge Colliery Tower
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • The winch room at Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery Winch Room
  • The winch room at Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery Winch Room
  • Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery
  • The winch controls at Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery Winch Controls
  • Castlebridge Colliery Winch Controls
    Castlebridge Colliery Winch Controls
  • Reading material for the winch operator at Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery Books
  • Castlebridge Colliery Equipment
    Castlebridge Colliery Equipment
  • A warning sign in the tower at Castlebridge Colliery
    Castlebridge Colliery Warning Sign

Castlebridge Colliery was part of a larger deep coal mine complex in Fife, which is more commonly known as Longannet. The shaft was sunk at a cost of £57 million in 1978 with production starting 6 years later in 1984. It was the last deep coal mine shaft to be sunk in Scotland during the National Coal Board era, but also the first one to be sunk in 20 years at the time. The site was closed in 2001 with the shaft filled and capped leaving the topside buildings empty.

What made Castlebridge Colliery slightly unique was the winching mechanism. Not so much the equipment used but where it was physically positioned. A normal coal mine would have the winch mechanism at ground level with the cables running to a large pulley above the shaft, much like a large A frame. With Castlebridge, however, the winch mechanism was located at the top of a 6 storey tower directly above the shaft. It was housed in a large metal cube, which is built on, what effectively look like stilts.

As I mentioned Castlebridge Colliery was part of a much larger mine network stretching across a large area on the north side of the River Forth. This included the mines of Bogside, Castlehill, Solsgirth and Longannet. All of the produce from the mine network was used to supply the now closed Longannet Power Station, with the coal being transported to it by several miles of underground conveyors. It was reported to have the world’s longest conveyor belt at the time, stretching almost 5.5 miles from Solsgirth to Longannet. The mine was also one of the most productive collieries in Europe, breaking all productivity records in Scotland. Many aspects of the site were duplicated in other collieries in the UK and around the world as it was seen as a blueprint for modern mining.

With the closure of Castlebridge Colliery in 2001 all access to that part of the mine ceased, with the complex being sealed off and flooded. As part of this Dams were created to isolate the Castlebridge section from the active mine workings. In 2002 the remaining section of the mine was flooded with millions of gallons of water. Fortunately the workers were in a different part of the mine and were safely evacuated. The owners of the mine Scottish Coal (Deep Mine) Limited went into receivership, and with no buyers coming forward the remaining pumps in the mine were switched off leaving the remainder of the mine to flood. They never found out the cause of the flood as there was no longer access to the mine, leaving it a bit of a mystery. This was the last deep mine in Scotland and with its closure effectively ending underground coal mining in the country.

  • Share