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The Vicarstown Coal Mines (VCM) is where Sodor gets its coal. It was first seen in the twelfth season of Adventures on Rails and has appeared regularly.

Appearence and Location

Just about a mile beyond Vicarstown, shortly before the junction to Vicarstown Dieselworks, the junction to the Vicarstown Coal Mines appears. Engines travel half a mile, then climb a small hill, pass a small village, travel about fourth of a mile, and arrive at the Mines. Just ahead is a mine shaft. There are a lot of tracks, shafts, coal hoppers, and trucks. At the farest point, there is a one road shed for Dodger, although, with Molly's introduction in The Engines of Sodor, there is a possibility that the shed will gain an extra berth.

History

Sodor was a good source for coal, but until the 1940s, the coal had to be brought from the Other Railway. In 1941 however, a coal mine at Vicarstown was found, but the problem was how to get it. The process took until about 1943 to lay down tracks, and was tough due to the war. When it opened in 1944, engines took in turns to bring coal to Tidmouth. In 1948, Percy volunteered to work there, but by 1950 was regreting his desicion. So, the Fat Controller acquired Dodger the Gresley J50, apart that his class was built to do that job. Since then, Dodger has been owned by both the North Western Railway and Vicarstown Coal Mines. Although ocassionally when the Mines go under maintance coal has to be brought from the Other Railway.

Avalanches

With the introduction to Canvas barriers in 1999, there have been no avalanches. However, two noteable avalanches are in 1951 and 1991. The 1951 avalanched damaged Dodger badly. So much, that he had to be sent to Doncaster for repairs. The 1991 avalanche was a result of the tracks failing, causing some trucks to collaspe the supports, thus breaking down the whole mine. Several workmen lost their lives in this incident and a special cermony was held to honour them.

Logo and Uniform

The logo for VCM is a blue sketch of a J50 under a coal hopper with coal surrounding, a box under the J50 with VCM in red and a fire over the entire picture.

The uniform is a blue vest under normal cloths for generic workmen, not miners. The logo however is black, and the letters in blue with a red border, but the fire remains red-orange. The helmets are the standard helmets; yellow with a headlight. The manager's helmet is blue.

The logo is also used on the sign right before the hill, and in a gate after the hill, trucks, Dodger of course, and the already mentioned uniforms. Molly will also carry the logo.

Equipment and Engines

Some of the equpment are:

  • Special rails that control trucks' wheels.
  • A turntable.
  • Canvas barrier to protect engines from the coal piled up.
  • A crane for easy coal loading.
  • A special coal chute

Though Dodger the Gresley J50 works here primarily, before his arrival in 1950, Percy worked here, and other engines like David or Paxton often help out. Molly will also work here by bringing trucks back and forth when she is introduced in The Engines of Sodor.

Trivia

  • The rails that control trucks were inspired by the Culdee Fell Railway.
  • The J50 in the logo, is more than obvious, Dodger.
  • Dodger has joint ownership with the Vicarstown Coal Mines and the North Western Railway, and it is has been confirmed that Molly with also have joint ownership.
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