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By Central Electricity Generating Board

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STEP C STEP 0 The vertical supports are lowered. The ram is set into reverse and the support is drawn up to the new face line. It is then reset to the roof (step A). ------------------- i -- joints open '' power cable, signal cables and hydraulic hoses Above: The armoured face conveyor is made up of sections loosely linked together so that they can be snaked sideways or in a curve. It carries the cutter-loader, and its endless chain or chains with flights attached move the coal back to the main conveyor.

Until the application of mechanical face conveyors in the early years of the twentieth century, the longwall face was approached by branch or gate roads, about 12 metres apart, through which each miner and his helper reached their part of the face. 5 metres wide, built along the sides of each road from rock obtained by ripping stone from the roof in each branch roadway to enlarge its height. Additional roof support was given by setting props and bars in roadways. The coal was won from the face by the hard and tiring work of the miner, who usually undercut the coal by hand-pick before drilling shotholes for blasting the coal down with explosives.

41 Left: A coal wagon of c. 1700 carries the coal from the mine head on the surface. In 'longwall', applied in seams mostly at depths exceeding 100 metres and by far the most commonly adopted system in Britain, the coal is removed in one operation from faces varying in length from I 00 to 250 metres. Until the application of mechanical face conveyors in the early years of the twentieth century, the longwall face was approached by branch or gate roads, about 12 metres apart, through which each miner and his helper reached their part of the face.

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