Up to four coal trains per day will run on the Cumbrian Coast Line from Whitehaven, once the town’s new Woodhouse Colliery opens (expected to be in early 2025, although trial movements could start in late 2024).
This capacity will be sufficient for the first three years of mining at the world’s first net-zero deep coal mine.
Once the mine reaches full production (around five years after the mine is built), this would rise to six trains per day up to six days a week, although this will require signalling upgrades between Wigton and Maryport to create an extra hourly train path.
Building Woodhouse Colliery will take around two years, with coal production starting around 18 months from the beginning of construction. The mine will produce high-quality metallurgical coal, an EU-classified ‘critical raw material’, to supply the steel industry at home and in Europe.
Trains will only operate within defined daytime hours, and there will be no trains on Sundays.
West Cumbria Mining (WCM) has selected Freightliner as its preferred partner and intends to use Class 70 locomotives (because they are quieter than Class 66s) and HHA wagons.
The mine is expected to have a life of 50 years and employ 500 workers, with 80% of its production exported via Redcar Bulk Terminal (North Yorkshire) and the remainder expected to go to Scunthorpe steelworks, which currently uses imported coal.
To read the full story, see RAIL 973.
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