Re: : Balls Head coal loader

Tom Jessop

   Clarence  colliery   at  Newnes jct  was the only one  with a  overhead bin & catenary underneath the load  chute . As the locos  went under the chute  the contact wire changed to a solid  bar  rod which could be moved  out of the way after the engines had  been  clear  of the bin , this was moved by  hydraulics under  control of the loader operator . As Clarence was  built on a very tight loop  there was  more than usual load signals , probably 3 to 1  for the first 1/2 of the load, the loop then straightened out   then proceeded round to the  loop end on another tight curve . all of this on a single overhead wire .

Coal spills  were common between wagons but normally didn't  cause problems & were cleaned up after the train had  finished loading . If it was excessive   the  breakdown crew would be called  for  shovel removal of the offending  load then finished cleaning up by company employees   with a bobcat digger. Charbon  colliery  was the worst being in a long tunnel where any  big spill  occurring   would have the observer  walking back into the tunnel  & screwing handbrakes on  for 2 or 3  wagons  after the spill &  then supervising  the train movement  out  until the spill had been reduced in height & normal passage  could  continue , clear the tunnel ,company employees  would then clean up  & the train would reverse  back in  to complete  loading.  Balbone  was  similar  to Clarence   having a overhead bin but  no centenary to worry about . A&B  loading  point  was done with scoop tractor loaders ,  A&B is now  a Springvale colliery load  point .

   Cheers   Tom J

From: "'Noel Reed' noelreed10@... [LRRSA]"
To: LRRSA@...
Sent: Thursday, 25 February 2016, 18:15
Subject: RE: [LRRSA] Re:: Balls Head coal loader

Towards the end of its operation, the Balls Head loader cable railway was replaced by conveyor belts..
Belts in either one or both tunnels under the coal stack discharged coal onto a longer belt aligned at 90 degrees to the other(s) from the shore to the end of the jetty.  As I remember, the steelwork of the conveyor belt on the jetty was coloured light green.
Considering the mechanics of the cable railway skip wagon filling chutes, the change to belts could have been to avoid blockage of the tracks in the tunnels by coal which fell to the track between successive moving wagons.
This could be a problem similar to the mechanics of chutes below coal bins at most big mines.
When electric locos were used on western coal trains, another problem feature would be the means to provide continuous DC power to the locos but remove any obstruction to the coal falling from the bin.
Do electric loco hauled coal trains in Queensland have a similar problem ?
Noel Reed.
From: LRRSA@... [mailto:LRRSA@...]
Sent: Thursday, 25 February 2016 5:38 PM
To: LRRSA@...
Subject: Re: [LRRSA] Re:: Balls Head coal loader
 When I was much younger many years ago, my father  worked for JABAS in the Sydney office . I was taken down to Balls  head often to fish off  either the jetty   or the wharf  on a weekend &  often saw the plant in operation .For memory   I think the plant was upgraded towards the end of its life but   a young  boys  memory could be  confusing things. I can remember the loading mechanism was painted a rust red & had a chain bucket system to load coal into ships from the cable  wagons .   Was this on the side or underneath ?  I never  was taken to the end of the jetty to see how the cable proceeded round the end with wagons attached .   Vaguely remember  that  some of the loading  plant  had been  painted silverfrost  towards the end of its life & on asking why  was told  that a substantial mechanical changeover  had  been  done .
  Checked Google  earth  &  find that  all the brick houses associated with the site  are still standing & being used for some sustainability  association  . The site still has the jetty  with the track supports  visible & the quite large retaining wall  is  standing  as I remembered it back in the mid  50's .
  Cheers   Tom J

From: "mjm@... [LRRSA]"
To: LRRSA@...
Sent: Thursday, 25 February 2016, 16:19
Subject: [LRRSA] Re:: Balls Head coal loader
The Illawarra Light Railway Museum has two Balls Head hopper wagons in preservation. See:

The original gauge was narrower than 2ft, but our examples have been re-gauged to fit on out track
In service they had one opening side door that was operated by a track side mechanism.

michael Milway.
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