By Joshua Robinson –
Visitors to the National Coal Mining Museum will be able to explore the mechanics of mining as part of Heritage Open Days, with the unique chance to see mining machinery run (above and below ground), get up close to vintage vehicles, and explore the Screens Building – which is usually off limits throughout the year.
The museum’s Caphouse Machine Rally, on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th of September, will be a celebration of the art of engineering. The Museum will be taken over by:
- Hands-on activities
- Machinery demonstrations
- Classic cars and vintage vehicles on display
- Special bookable tours to get even closer to the action
Activities across the site include Special Machinery Underground Tours, where visitors will see and hear some of the museum’s machines, including a haulage line, air tools, and an EIMCO Bucket, in action 140m underground.
Tours run at 11.30 am, 1 pm and 2.30 pm. Tickets are bookable in advance for £5 per person.
The weekend will also be an opportunity to access the Screens Building – a rare survivor of what was a very common structure across the English coalfields.
Guided by a former Miner and Living History character, visitors will discover how coal was brought out of the ground and even get an up-close look at the last wooden headgear in Europe. Tours run 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm. Tickets are free, but booking in advance is essential.
Above ground there is surface moving equipment, including an ACE Coal Cutter, DOSCO Coal Cutter and Paddy Train, and a mechanical collection that includes a Bedford Coal Wagon, Austin Gipsy Fire Tender, and a Hunslet Locomotive.
Hope Pit will play host to displays of classic motorcycles, vintage commercials, steam engines and much more. Classic cars will be on display in the Pit Yard, giving visitors a chance to get close to the everyday (and not-so-everyday) vehicles of the past century.
On Sunday 17th September, 11-16-year-olds can get creative at the STEAM Club for a Robotic Vehicle Challenge in partnership with Izwiz Robotics. Young people will use gears or pulleys to build their own robotic vehicle and put it to the test with a series of fun challenges. This fun workshop runs at 11am and 2pm, and is pre-bookable at £5 per child.
Shaun McLoughlin, Mine Director, says: “We’re delighted to be hosting our Caphouse Machine Rally as part of Heritage Open Days with opportunities for visitors to get up-close to mining machinery and vintage vehicles, plus plenty of interactive experiences that highlight the importance of the mechanics of mining.”
To learn more about the National Coal Mining Museum, please visit: https://www.ncm.org.uk/
To learn more about the Caphouse Machine Rally, please visit: https://www.ncm.org.uk/whats-on/caphouse-machine-rally/