Steam trains are nearing end of the line: Old-style locomotives could stop running as plans for new coal mine are blocked
- Newcastle City Council has refused to grant planning permission for a new mine
- A railway association said decision ‘dashed hopes of Britain’s heritage railways’
- It comes as supplies of English steam coal are expected to run out early this year
Steam trains could stop running after plans for a new coal mine were blocked.
The Heritage Railway Association has warned that the industry could be jeopardised by Newcastle City Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a new mine, as supplies of English steam coal are expected to run out early this year.
It said the decision had ‘dashed the hopes of Britain’s heritage railways’, which need affordable coal to continue operating.
The ‘Mince Pie Special’ steam train service pictured arriving into Oxenhope Station along the line of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in northern England on January 3 (file photo)
The Flying Scotsman seen passing Corfe Castle on the Swanage Railway in Dorset on March 19, 2019. Steam trains could stop running after plans for a new coal mine were blocked (file photo)
Supplies of Welsh coal are expected to run out next year when the only remaining mine producing the right coal for the trains closes.
Some heritage railway operators could go under if forced to rely on foreign imports, the association warned.
Its chief executive Steve Oates said UK coal generates ‘a fraction of the CO2 emissions’ of extracting and shipping coal from overseas, and costs less.
The planned mine at Dewley Hill would have produced the bituminous lump coal burned by steam trains.
The application was rejected on environmental grounds, despite this type of coal being relatively smokeless and clean.
The ‘Mince Pie Special’ steam train service pictured departing Oxenhope Station along the line of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in the village of Oxenhope, England (file photo)
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