Peckett & Sons     Works No 1889 Menelaus 0-6-0ST

Peckett 1889 at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway - May 1989.jpg

This B3 class locomotive was built by Peckett & Sons in 1934 and was set to work at the Cwm Marine Colliery in the village of Cwm, later known as Marine Colliery.

Later it gained the name Memelaus which is a name that goes back to Greek mythology. The locomotive was probably named after William Menelaus who was the founder and the first President of the South Wales Institute of Engineers in 1857.  In 1850 he joined the Dowlais Iron company as engineer-manager of the mills and forges where the first commercial attempt to produce steel using the Bessemer process was made. 

There were several small collieries and drift mines  at Cwm located on the mountain side as well as the main colliery located on the valley floor.

Shafts were sunk for Marine Colliery in 1889 by the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Company Ltd and the first coal was produced four years later. By 1913 over 2,400 people were employed there.

From the Inspector of Mines list 1896, there were 833 men employed producing from the Old coal, Three quarters, Big and Elled seams. In 1913 there were 2,407 men employed. From a report of 1923, there were 944 men working at Marine No. 1, producing from the Old Coal seam and there were 1,097 employed at No. 2 working the Elled, Big Vein and Three Quarters seams.

By 1927 the number working in the mine had fallen to 1400. In March of that year an underground gas and coal dust explosion killed 52 men in the mine.

By 1935 the ownership of the colliery had change hands to Partridge, Jones & John Paton Ltd. who worked the colliery until Nationalisation in 1947, when there were 1,540 men employed.

An incident at Marine Colliery led to an important case in the law of England and Wales. After a miner named Edwards was killed by a falling rock at Marine Colliery on 6 November 1947, the case of Edwards v National Coal Board in 1949 established the concept of “reasonable practicability” with avoiding workplace deaths.

During the 1970s it became integrated with Six Bells Colliery with all the coal being handled at the Marine. In 1982 £2.5 million was spent on a new skip winding system, also a new coal handling plant was installed on the surface. Marine was the last deep mine to work in the Ebbw valleys, it closed in March 1989.

The village and the colliery were connected to the Great Western Railway network with a station in the middle of Cwm and a halt at Marine Colliery to transport the coal it produced. The station was closed to passengers in 1962 and Marine halt shut when the colliery was demolished in 1989.

The locomotive was said to be still working at Cwm Colliery in 1985.

By 1989 it was at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway.

The locomotive is now based on the Caledonian Railway at Brechin where it is being overhauled.

Peckett 1889 at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway - May 1989.jpg
1889 at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway – May 1989

Back to Peckett & Sons

Back to Industrial Locomotives

Back to Locomotives