The NCB began driving a 1190 metre long loco-drift in 1950 with the aim of winning some four and a half million tons of coal in the Upper and Lower Mountain Mines. When production began in August 1952 the mine had an expected life of around 30 years. Like the other new drifts, Thorny Bank broke output records for the area. It was also much bigger affair than the Board’s other new drifts and between 1955 and 1967 it employed an average of 289 men underground and 29 on the surface.

The initial promise could not be sustained, however, and adverse geological conditions led to its closure on July 12th 1968.

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