After a pause whilst another project takes priority (more of that in a later post) this blog resumes in reclaiming and updating the old ‘South Caradon mine’ website. It continues with the theme of tramways and railways.
Linking the hugely productive Kitto’s Shaft with the South Caradon Mine’s dressing floors was a tramway, a tramway that carried the massive amounts of ore the mine pulled out of the ground from the rich Caunter Lode.
This tramway ran from near the sett’s eastern boundary at Kitto’s Shaft, around the southern slope of Caradon Hill, to a terminus near the yard above the dressing floors. It passed through a tunnel at Holman’s Shaft but did not appear to have branches to any other shafts. The tramway ran parallel and slightly higher than the mines main east to west cart track.
Operation of the tramway
It assumed that the tramway was horsedrawn but a lone chimney (seen in the above photograph) has been suggested by some authors to have served stationary haulage engine for the tramway. This theory is unlikely due to the chimney’s location, and the likelihood that it was located at a now lost shaft used for hauling.
Assuming the wagons to hold two tons of ore each, about ten wagons a day would have trundled along the route when the mine was operating at its peak production.
The Tramway Route
This map shows the route of the tramway as it rounded the corner of the hill into the Seaton Valley. The parallel lines of tracks, tramline and leats all squeeze under the slopes of the mine waste tips.These can be seen in the photograph below as they run behind the stamp engine. Messenger interprets the rear parallel line as being a raised launder. The OS map confirms that a leat ran along this alignment to Donkey Pond. The reveted route below this is probably that of the Tramway on a descent to the Yard.
The Eastern Terminus
The tramway ends at Kitto’s Shaft in a trench between two waste dumps. Another tramway, at a higher level, links this to the shaft. The 1880 Os map shows this layout (note the incorrect spelling of the shaft) .
The dressing floor terminus
Once at the terminus the track track appears to turn to the west to an unloading siding above the dressing shed. How this is achieved with the gradient that existed beside the Drys is not clear. However, close inspection of the Victorian photograph does not reveal a possible raised track bed supported by trestles or a simple ore slide that allowed the ore to fall.by gravity down to the lower level.
This Kindle Publication contains a map of the mine clearly showing the tramway route.