IT was a blast at the Welbeck Colliery site as the hundred-foot high coal train loading bunker came crashing down in a spectacular explosion.

Production at the century-old pit ended in May and the site is now being cleared by a specialist team from Rotherham-based Ron Hull demolition.

Colliery manager Geoff Mountain, who is supervising the sealing-off of the mine and clean up of the site, said: “The rapid loading bunker was used to fill coal trains at high speed. It was capable of filling a train with sixteen or seventeen hundred tons in just two hours.”

“Because of the height of the bunker and the fact that so much of the weight was in the series of hoppers in the top of the structure, it was decided that the quickest and safest way of demolishing it was to use explosives.”

With colliery workers and demolition men watching from the tops of spoil tips outside the exclusion zone, the explosives team fired the charges to take down a giant lighting tower, followed a fraction of a second later by the main blast to bring down the bunker.

Ron Hull contracts director David Wall said: “It went down very gracefully and with remarkably little damage to the main structure. When the smoke cleared it was simply lying on its side. We can now get to work and dismantle it safely.”

The final stage of the site clearance will involve the removal of the mine’s two headgears, which again are to be taken down by explosive demolition.