The Branch Line Society


Goodluck Mine Explorer
Sunday 23rd October 2016

Following the excellent Crich Fixture (BLN 1268.2130), a fully booked party of 20 members - the visit was not open to non-members - met here at 15.00. The mine is obscurely located off the A5012 at 'Via Gellia', about 4 miles west of Cromford. (Funny how the word 'obscure' features quite a bit in our activities!) Parking is in a main road layby but due to limited space 'smart' parking /car sharing was needed as it was already occupied (ironically, by our mine guides' cars - and good luck to them). It was then a steep uphill walk (separating the fit from the unfit) to the entrance, where a small band of knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers were waiting.


The end of the line on the spoil heap tip, looking down at the parked cars.
[Duncan Finch]

The things some people will do for trackā€¦ Alan has been Shepherded
into a tiny tub and is being pushed about by John Cameron
underground in the Goodluck Vein.
[Simon Mortimer]

One of our junior members, being less tubby, fits in the tub rather better.
[Simon Mortimer]

Our party split into two groups of 10, one went on the mine tour while the other stayed to ride the outside section of the 11" gauge tramway. The vehicle was a single 4 wheeled truck just big enough for one adult (or all three juniors present!) at a time to squat in! A few route proving ECS runs were wisely made to find any 'problems' on the line, which runs from the mine entrance about 70yd or so out on the spoil heap, perched high on a wooden 'staith' over a fairly steep drop down to the road below! In the Mine's heyday this was the waste line to dispose of unwanted material.

Left: The BLS Junior Members special on the surface section - there really is track there! [Simon Mortimer]

Another siding ran from a single primitive point bladeright: [Duncan Finch]about another 30yd to what must have been the Lead ore sorting facility.

Despite the primitive nature of the roughly laid rails and some vegetation/leaf mulch the line was fully rideable so everyone managed to 'red pen' the track to its extremities and wheelslip was not a problem. It took at least two people to pull/push on each run. A good photo opportunity was available at the end of line high over the precipice! Interestingly, the truck had 'L Plates' attached to the rear!
[see top photo]

The three juniors in particular enjoyed multiple rides, and one member managed to ride inside the mine entrancebelow: [Duncan Finch]and a short way towards the internal incline!

Once the other group had emerged from the depths it was time to swap over. We donned mandatory hard hats and lights and entered the mine. The walk followed the rails up the incline and onwards down the main 'Goodluck Lead Vein' which was remarkably narrow. The hard hats were not just decorative, as headroom was VERY limited in places! About halfway there was a similar riding truck to that outside and, with a bit of negotiation and pre-service test runs all managed a short underground trip in similar fashion to outside. There is an extensive tunnel system (some only accessible to caving and potholing experts) on different levels and over half a mile of 11" gauge (one original branch with wooden track).The only other rolling stock seen was a flatbed equipment truck inside. The internal temperature is a surprisingly constant 8-10oC throughout the year.

Some original mining artifacts are on display, such as tools and miners leather shoes, all left when the mine was abandoned (It worked from c1830 to 1883, in the 1920s and finally the mid 1940s during WWII). All in all a fascinating tour, participants came away a great deal wiser about lead mining; very much a local Derbyshire 'cottage industry'.

Thanks to the 'Goodluck Mine Preservation Club' who made us welcome and allowed us to be the first passengers on the line in preservation! Also to our member John Cameron organising what was certainly this member's most unusual fixture in his four years as a BLS Member! It must also have been unusual to have three Junior Members on a fixture (accompanied by their dads).

Simon has never worked so hard!
[Duncan Finch]

As the organiser of the fixture John Cameron has the honour (?) of the first trip onto the 'staith' on the mine spoil heap.
This picture gives no idea of the rather dramatic view to be had from here (as per the top picture).
Everything had been thoroughly tested by the mine volunteers beforehand and more proving ECS runs were made on the day.
[Simon Mortimer]

An original plan based on the the mine records supplemented by a survey on our 23 Oct visit. The external outdoor section of the railway covered by all participants is in red, the underground railway section is black. The 'Warl Gate' branch still has original wooden track. Other passages without track are shown in blue; the incline is 'down' to the mine. There are other passageways (without track) at different levels.
[With thanks to our Society cartographer Martyn Brailsford]

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