Strange loop/siding east of Haltwhistle

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trebor79

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Whilst travelling to Carlisle yesterday I saw an odd siding a couple.of miles to the east of Haltwhistle (I think).
It diverged from the Carlisle bound track, and had a number of signal posts labelled "A" "B" etc. Mounted on the top of those posts are round heads that looked to hold about 10 individual bulbs.

The siding then rejoined the track.

It has obviously been out of use for a very long time, on fact part of it is buried under some spoil. But I couldn't see any redundant industry and looking on google maps I can't see a quarry or anything of that nature, just a lane leading to it.
I'm intrigued. Does anyone know what traffic used this loop and what the purpose/operation of the weird signals was?
 
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Mcr Warrior

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Wonder whether this location is 'Melkridge Sidings', just beyond Whitchester Tunnel, and about two miles East of Haltwhistle station.

Was once a loading location for a nearby opencast mining operation at Plenmeller.

Sidings are out of use, I believe.
 

MadMac

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The signals you’re describing sound like “Toton” or “Merry-go-round” signals for slow speed loading/unloading operations, which would tie in with the open-cast mining scenario.
 

Freightmaster

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some info:

There was a full size rapid loader on the siding at one time:




MARK
 

trebor79

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Thanks everyone, very interesting. No wonder I didn't spot the mine if it was over a mile and a half away!
 
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If you look closely when passing, I’m fairly sure there is now a gated fence across the old siding, a by-product of the land the infrastructure is on being sold over time?
 

trebor79

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Yes there is a fence across certainly the eastern end of it. Didn't see one at the Western end but there may have been.
 

Ernie Brack

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There is an occupation crossing at the approx mid-point of the loop which has a separate gate covering the loop and which was only closed across the lane when a train was working the loader. After closure of the Loader the loop has been disused and I think only a failed set of DRS containers bound for Immingham many years ago is the only train rumoured to have been temporarily berthed at the eastern end to get it out of the way.
I have an album on Flickr in Ernie's Railway Archive with photos and video of the Loader in action.

Album is https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishswissernie/albums/72157687991895822

The video in the album is: https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishswissernie/39846737833/in/album-72157687991895822/

The Loader was only in action for around 6 years as permission to extend the opencast site operations was refused.
 

Ploughman

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I was involved in the project by on site supervision on Sat Nights back in 1992.
Job covered by Tech Staff from Leeds ACE's office as the Newcastle -- Carlisle was part of our area.
 
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