The construction of the track started in April 1994 with the laying of the track bed by contractors . In May 1994 the group, all volunteers under the supervision of Ed Armstrong - Countryside Officer for Wansbeck District Council set about laying the track. The volunteers, some are ex-miners, others, enthusiasts who liked to get their hands dirty, which was true, as we have very little in the way of railway tools, so 1000 tons of ballast had to be laid by shovels, and we had to improvise for other tasks.
Volunteers now operate the Passenger Railway Service from the Woodhorn Colliery Museum to the North End of the Queen Elizabeth II Country Park, near the Brewsters Woodhorn Grange Restaurant along 1 kilometer of track (5/8 of a mile). The trip takes approximately 20 minutes at a leisurely 7 to 10 miles per hour. At present our locomotive is on loan to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Association while Woodhorn Colliery Museum is being redesigned. The "Man Riding" carriages were built by Allan's of Tipton to transport miners underground to the coal face, these were modified for our use, along with a canopy roof fitted to one of our carriages, which was constructed by students under the supervision of Northumberland College as a summer project.
The QEII Country Park Railway Society has set up an appeal to raise £15,000 to improve facilities for disabled passengers. This involves purchasing a specially adapted carriage that will carry wheelchairs and conform to Health & Safety requirements.
With a grant of £15,000 from the Wansbeck Sustainable Communities Fund, the Society has acquired a second locomotive, which was build by the German company SCHOMA to ferry supplies and equipment for use in the construction of the Channel Tunnel. Amazingly, it then saw service with the merchant navy, being used on a specially laid track on the deck of a ship reclaiming copper from a sunken vessel in the Irish sea.
Such was the height of the Woodhorn pit heap that an observation post was built on top of it. Because of the demands for coal during the Second World War, miners at Woodhorn and other pits had had to work a 6 day week throughout the war period. As the end of war approached men, understandably, started missing shifts and output dropped. To set an example 12 men from Woodhorn were charged with deliberately impeding production. Each man was found guilty and find £2. After the War and into the 1950's Woodhorn was a busy and productive pit and with the nationalisation of the mining industry the future looked bright. In 1957, 1,850 men were employed producing 3,600 tons of coal daily from 5 seams. But coal mining has always been a dangerous business and Woodhorn was no exception. On 2nd March 1951, two men (Jack Johnson, aged 48 and James Willis, aged 40) were killed by a roof fall, four other men were injured in the same accident. On 23rd January 1961, George Duddridge was killed by a massive fall of stone.
On 15th November 1966, all the men working underground at Woodhorn Colliery had to be withdrawn to the surface because smoke and gas from a huge fire at Lynemouth Pit was seeping through the escape airways linking the two mines. Normal working was resumed at Woodhorn one week later. The replacement of the steam winder with an electric winder (salvaged from Fenwick Colliery) in No 2 Winding House in 1975 marked the end of steam winding in the Northumberland. Throughout the 1970's coal production was confined to the lower and thinner seams and daily production had dropped to 1,100 tons. Output and manpower fell steadily and by the time closure came there were about 500 employees.
QEII COUNTRY PARK
At its heart is a lake, a popular venue for fishing, canoeing and sail boarding.
There are fishing jetties and launching points for people with disabilities at various points around the lake.
A short story of credit card processing with one of the industry's masterminds, David Azzato
There is no special story where David Azzato wants to tell us about how he got into the mobile credit card processing. But one thing we know is that he is a mastermind in every field he is working on and that he has a huge capacity of creating new ideas and making a difference wherever he tries his skills.
David Azzato and his team stepped into the mobile credit card processing business a few years ago. Their goal, as they say, is to make mobile credit card processing more available, safer and cheaper. It was and still is very hard for them to keep up in this hard business, but they have a number of loyal clients and their services are being used more and more every day.
There must be a reason why they got into this business and there also have to be some goals they set on the beginning, like in every other project David Azzato is involved in. He and his team proved they are reliable and their solutions are the best, but this business is something totaly new for them and every time they start something it is a totaly new beginning for them. "It is like starting from the zero every time, but we made it so many times, and we are sure we will make it this time also.", David said once about their new beginnings. In the following few words David Azzato says a few facts about the credit card processing business and we think these are the reason why they started.
"Mobile credit card processing and mobile paying is present only a little in Europe. The USA is the leader. In Africa and Asia the most used mobile paying service is SMS-paying. About $200 billion is being spent every year through mobile payments. It is quite safe and the whole market is growing very fast." It is known that David Azzato is spreading mobile credit card processing and mobile payments on all continets, Europe especially and that his service fees are the lowest. There were no problems to this day with safety and we believe David and his team developed an encrypting system that in very hard or even impossible to crack.
But what makes them special? The others also had no safety concerns in the last few years. Well, you get the same or higher security with lower rates and almost everywhere around the world. The process of signing up and recieving a card reader is very fast and free. Some other providers take a monthly fee. We want our services to be available all around the world, it is hard to reach such goals, but we have set strong foundations. And the most important features other providers do not have were once said by David Azzato himself:
They trust them
"We really do care about our costumers. We always make sure they get the best service and the highest security at the lowest price and fees, because we want them to get the best experience possible. Like with everything else we work on, we are constantly thinking of new ideas and ways and better solutions to improve our services. And we won't stop doing it. Our services have always been one of the safest on the market. And we can proudly say that it is imposible to hack our credit card processing system. Our protecting system is one of it's kind and no virus nor human being can reach to your private informations. We spent more than 5 months working on this protection system and now it is totally implemented in our money transfer and credit card processing system. Before all, we want our costumers to feel how it can be easy to use modern technology and to feel safer than ever using it. Smartphones can make our lifes so much easier, but we need to find the safest ways to use them, especially when it goes about our health, family and money. The older people don't know yet the positive sides of using smartphones, especially for their money transfers. It actually is safer than carrying the money with you. We want to show that to the mankind and show and give them ways to manage their money on a much easier, safer and reliable way."
In every business it is important to have the trust of your costumers. Especially in the bank, credit card and money transfer industry. People trust those companies that they use for a long time and that did not disappoint them. So we know it was hard for David Azzato to gain the reputation for himself. But his earlier reputation helped him and his team to slowly get to the point where they are now.
David Azzato has also set a few goals for the future of their mobile credit card processing and money transfer services. "Today about 29% people from 35-45 years of age use mobile phones to manage their money and 10% Americans doesn't carry cash with them anymore. We want to integrate NFC (near field communication) better with our services and to bring younger and older people to use our mobile services more. In our near future we see ourselves as the leading mobile money transfer and credit card transfering service in the world. We have many ideas and a lot of solutions we want to implement in our services soon.
By the end of 2017 it is expected that mobile phones and tablets will have a share of over 25% in the worlds money transfer. That is a huge number in such a short amount of time to come. We certainly want to help our colleagues from other companies to reach that goal as soon as possible and to continue growing the mobile money transfer and credit card processing industry."
This way will be rough but we are sure David and his team will soon reach their goals as they did many times before.