11-20-2010 12:50 PM
Peter I need you to come pickup part of your track gang, with wheel barrow. I'm in pretty tough shape after yesterday. I'm up in room 8, in the Palace hotel. When can you make it down? Oh and can you bring $2 with, to pay for the room. I spent my weeks pay at the beer parlour and on a beautiful San francisco floozy. I'll work it off...
11-20-2010 01:12 PM
Let's see, at 75 cents per ton, that would be 1 big or 2 small carloads to cover the room charges. (another 20 wheelbarrow loads). Okay if your breakfast was included in the room charge. If not, add another 4 loads.
Originally Posted by Sitka
11-20-2010 01:30 PM
Deal Boss...just make sure your wheel barrow tire is at full pressure because Carmellotta from San francisco, will be travelling back to the slope with us. She wants the job at the cook house...
11-20-2010 01:52 PM
To the list of dangers, I might also add "having one's shoulder dislocated by a sandstone-filled dinosaur footprint" -- that (in my case) fell from a mine roof (in the Skeeter Seam workings at No.1 Mine of Sukunka Colliery) back in the late 70's. Told the First Aid fellow to write 'kicked by a dinosaur" on my compo paperwork. No end of hassle ensued -- neither WCB nor the Inspector of Mines had all that much of a sense of humour.
11-20-2010 01:57 PM
Possibly a 'verandah roller' which would carry a hoisting cable over a knuckle within, or at the top of, a slope entry. One would install them in pillow blocks, situated down between the track rails so as to not interfere with the bottoms of the pit-cars.
It dawns on me that, in all my years of working in collieries, I have only ever once worked in a mine that had track haulage. In my day, everything's been either conveyer-served or (in the case of small punch mines) just run by shuttle cars or diesel ramcars.
11-20-2010 02:41 PM
Interesting to hear that Wolf Mountain had another look-see in the past few years. It's a nice little property that suffers from being just a bit too small (in terms of tonnage and area) and remote from any established coal-shipping point. I should note that the three-piece timber sets were an interim measure, installed after the segmental colliery arches had gone up on the main conveyor road, and before the shift-over to roof-bolting. Isolated timber posts were still used as 'policemen', to give some visiual indication to the miners that the roof might be locally taking weight. Those of you who have seen my underground photography of the mine, taken during its active working period, would also be aware that timbers were used to support the water, compressed-air and main power feed lines into the active section of the mine.
There's also some fairly nice timbering within the broken ground adjacent to the main northeast-trending fault that cuts the two main entries. I am sure that by now the fungus has fairly well eaten the strength of that timbering. The sandy siltstone made an excellent roof, but when it fell, it tended to fall all the way up to the floor of the No.2 ('Little Wellington') coal bed. The one exception to the roof's good nature was in the final 40 or so metres of the main conveyor heading and its right counter heading, where the roof was full of listric surfaces and essentially reduced to semi-coherent rubble (what we call a 'rammel' roof condition).
Now I am curious. Was the 'mining contractor' by any chance my old friend Butch Napier from Devrial?
Oh, I should also add that the mine was worked under the terms of a limited production permit, essentially as a test mine to obtain a bulk sample; I do not have the production figures easily at hand (they're across the street in my office, but it's cold out and I'm feeling distinctly loath to pull my snow-boots on and go fetch them), but in any case it would have totalled less that 100,000 tonnes of raw coal at the mine-mouth.
My 35-mm photos here, with (alas) rather dated text: http://www.westwatermining.com/library/wolftour.html I have about another 20 images from down there, but most of them are not as visually appealing, since much of an active coal mine is either black with coal dust or white with rock dust, and therefore not all that photogenic. I must also have five bankers' boxes full of technical notes from that mine: survey books, measured sections, progress maps, cost data. I suppose that, like most knoweledge workers in mining, I never want to throw out data which might well be irreplaceable.
The Joy 6 miner had quite a chequered history: it worked all over the place, including Smoky River and David Minerals (although I don't think they ever cut any coal with it there). I believe that its frame is now sitting in the boneyard at 2-North, up at Quinsam. Production at Wolf Mountain ended when the miner's main head shaft broke, and no spares could be readily found. I still have a raincoat and a water-bottle hanging on a nail driven into the coal rib at the left-hand corner of the inbye end of the 1-North-B workings at Wolf Mountain. Somehow, I don't think it's worth the bother going back to retrieve it after over 20 years!
I'm not too sure that trying to re-enter Wolf Mountain from the south would be such a great idea. The main parting within the Wellington Main coal bed thickens and opens out to the southeast, and ultimately the bulk of the coal is lost to syndepositional erosion within that split area. At the time, back in the latter 80s, we were fairly keen to drive a new pair of headings westward from near the northern face of 1-North-A (the first panel worked at Wolf Mountain), with the idea of avoiding the worst of the splitting and associated small-scale compactional faulting.
I will close with the (haywire?) proposition that Wolf Mountain's coal might be best 'washed' by means of a picking belt. I've seen it done overseas, and it can be cost-effective (although I daresay it'd have to be a minimum-wage job here in Canada if it were to work at all).
Thanks for the kind words. Reputation is hard to attain, and easy to lose. ^_^
-- Gwyneth, who remembers Wolf Mountain with considerable fondness.
Originally Posted by Sitka
Last edited by gwyneth; 11-20-2010 at 02:42 PM.
Reason: atrocious typos
11-20-2010 02:51 PM
Something like the one showing a page or two back in this forum in the photo of the incline from Wellington #3 to #4 mines? I'm at the Nanaimo Archives at the moment, digging through old original photos and have found nice pics of Dunsmuir's first 1875 (old slope) operation. Old 1875 print and a recent 1988 photo taken before the entrance was bulldozed in when new owners took over the Jingle Pot Campsites property. The spot is today in the bottom corner of the campsites, at the corner closest to the new highway. GR74 can pitch a tent there to conceal the digging operations. The rails are still in there. I'm not sure about rolling stock which I think were pulled out and displayed above ground before the new owners took over. I'll put up the photos for review once I get them reformatted.
Originally Posted by gwyneth
11-20-2010 03:35 PM
Yes, very much the same idea. Rollers would be mounted either directly to the track ties, or (in the case of a downward lessening of gradient) to an overhead bar or boom. Stan Lawrence (former manager at Tsable River and now deceased) introduced me to the specific term 'verandah roller', which would have been current in mining jargon around the 1950s, anyway.
When we mapped the old workings of Sage Mine for the Ministry of Mines (see Lynne Bowen's webspace, at http://www.lynnebowen.ca/three_dollar_dreams.html, for a couple of photos taken during that exercise), we found rollers, rail and haulage-cable in the bottom-most accessible part of the old main slope. The ties had long since rotted away, or been eaten by beetles. So were the cores of the round timber posts along the slope: just their bark shells remained. The rollers were concentrated at a point where the slope had been graded down over a small fault, and thus briefly increased its gradient.
I am not sure that the mine entry at the Jingle Pot Campground was the old 1875 entry. I can speak with a bit of authority on that point as I did a subsurface geological review of the properties near the Jingle Pot interchange, as part of the expropriation appeal process that ensued prior to the construction of the Nanaimo Parkway. We took a big Hitachji track-hoe and dug trenches across any place that looked like it might hold an old mine entry. The only place we did not have the heart to dig up was a lovely rock-garden within a wooded lot at what is now Old Slope Place, on the now cut-off eastern segment of Jingle Pot Road.
We did break into the old workings along the eastern side of the road alignment, finding some nice hard coal in the pillars. It burned just fine in our fireplace in Kitsilano! We also found some nasty waterlogged driveages of the King & Foster operation, on the north side of Tunnel Creek. I rode the hoe's bucket down into one, and was extracted by the hoe's operator as the mine collapsed -- he had the presence of mind to close the hoe's thumb over my head as the debris came raining down.
I plead youth and ignorance, as concerns that episode. Know better, now. ^_^
11-20-2010 04:55 PM
Dunsmuir's earliest diggings
Tried to check out your Wolf Mountain tour (at 17:45) but doesn't want to load for some reason (retried and loaded fine at 18:00 just now) Enjoyed it when I was put onto it a year or two ago (and again now). Thanks for doing that! We'll need to add the bucket ride to the list of dangers. I think that one might have made you a contender for the Darwin Award if you would have somehow managed to successfully remove yourself from the gene pool by doing that.
Originally Posted by gwyneth
Here are the images of Dunsmuir's old slope from the archives a couple hours ago. First is from some version of the June 11, 1875 James Richardson that the Provincial Archives titled as "Original Wellington Mine". Second and third are respectively the front and back of the 1988 campsite image and the fourth is the campsite today. I got a bunch of stuff from there about 30 years ago (rails, cars, etc from immediately south and east of that spot). Until today, I thought the campsite entrance at the time 30 years ago wasn't the original one either but was more of a convenient one for tourists. That is what an old miner (Jim Addison) told me. Your findings confirm it might have been something dummied up for the tourists. Obviously, the timber had to have been rather fresh in 1988 to still have the bark on it. The campsite owner who showed me around at the time (I can't remember her name) said it was the first mine. She showed me ore cars, etc that were about half way up the hill between the bottom of the campsite and Jingle Pot Road, along the side nearest the Parkway. There was a half buried hulk that I think was (I was too young to know for sure) an electric or battery locomotive maybe 50 yards east of that campsite mine entrance (never was on the campsite property), right in the middle of what is now the highway. It was far too compact and lunky to be a truck. Do you remember pulling out old mining equipment or was it already gone by the time you got there? It could have been something else because I couldn't see the wheels or if it had any with all the dirt and slack around it
That part of the old Jingle Pot Road that is now called Old Slope Place had little development except for the campsite. The house on the north side was brought in from some other place and the one on the south side had a cranky guy living there who was constantly mending fences to keep the dirt bikes out. Can't blame the guy for being cranky with so many campsite visitors and others making noise all the time. Ironic having a major highway there instead now.
Last edited by Peter Roosen; 11-21-2010 at 02:48 PM.
Reason: Wolf Mountain comment revision (in brackets)
11-20-2010 05:10 PM
Gwyneth, do you happen to remember when production at the Tsable River colliery completely finished? From my understanding there were there were three men that stayed on and worked the coal mine, on a limited production level till an unknown date.