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Mining Review 1/7: Keep It Moving! (1948)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

The commentary also doubles as a synopsis, and is therefore reproduced in full:

Round about January every year, we stop wondering whether enough coal is being produced underground and look upwards instead - at the weather. Remembering what happened last time, plans were laid well ahead to beat the stranglehold of winter.

Where possible, stocks of coal were accumulated at the consumer's end, well in advance of the winter. In November 1946, stocks of coal totalled eight and a half million tons. In November 1947, there were sixteen and a half million tons - nearly double.

In order to achieve this, the tonnage carried by coastwide shipping was greatly increased. More use was made of canals, which at present carry only a fiftieth of Britain's coal. On the railways, more pit-to-destination trains are bypassing the marshalling yards. In the yards themselves, the British Transport Commission is introducing vast new schemes of mechanisation to speed the flow of coal. Some of the old ten-ton trucks are replaced by steel sixteen-tonners.

Railway workers and volunteers from among the users have been working weekends to speed turnaround of wagons. At Haslemere in Surrey, the local cricket team works on the trucks one Sunday in every month. Voluntary work of this sort has meant a 70% increase in wagon turnaround.

But the Coal Board's major operation was the switching of tonnage from rail to road transport. Already in September 1947, just over a quarter million tons of coal a week were being transported by road. In December, though, the figure nearly doubled. As we go to press, the weather is still mild, but the stocks are there - to ensure a steady flow of coal to the user.