By the 1830s tramroads serving both the Ellenbrook and Wardley areas were being used to carry coal from the many collieries down to the Bridgewater Canal at Boothstown and Worsley respectively where the coal was transferred into barges. Horses were carried downhill from the collieries, their job being to haul the empty wagon back up the incline.


A drawing dated 1863 of horse and coal wagon on the industrial tramroad in the Worsley area.

As can be seen in the drawing a man would be on board and could operate a brake to control the speed of the wagon on the descent to the canal. At Ellenbrook where the track crossed Newearth Road there were several accidents. An oil lamp lit traffic light was installed to halt road traffic whilst the wagon crossed unimpeded. It has been suggested that this might have been the country's first traffic light!


A 'chair'(pictured above) that connected the iron rail to a stone block sleeper has been saved and is now on display outside Worsley Village Library, together with plaque and interpretation board. Unfortunately the 'interpretation board' is misleading, with a sketch map and photos of the underground canals. It has been pointed out to those responsible that this should be changed so that the information explains what the 'chair' was for, and tells the public about the tram roads, coal shute at the canal bank, etc.
The tramroads were an alternative means of transporting coal and had no link with the underground canals.


Coal shute, from which coal was discharged from rail wagons to canal boats below.


Sketch map of tramroads and underground canals leading to the Bridgewater Canal, 1860s.