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Another picture taken at Bo’ness station. Here, the engine, British Railways Standard 2-6-4T No.80105 tank locomotive, which pulls “Santa’s Polar Express” drives up the line and is about to reverse down the other line to take on more water.

But, across the Firth of Forth, in the right of the picture, you can see a mightier source of power and a much hungrier devourer of coal – the Longannet Power Station.

I have gleaned some more information about this massive power station from Wikipedia and I append that below. But what I find interesting is that this power station must have been built with a view to burning the coal from the very same source as was exploited by Sir George Bruce, Laird of Carnock, the man who built and lived in the Palace at Culross in south Fife, only a couple of miles from Longannet. In the early 17th Century, coal-mining at Culross developed to such an extent that mining took place following seams of coal that ran beneath the River Forth. Sir George Bruce had the brilliant idea of dropping a shaft down into the mine from below the sea so that coal could be lifted directly from the mine into ships – the World’s first underwater mine.

For those interested in the Longannet Power Station:


Longannet power station is a large coal-fired power station on the upper Firth of Forth near Kincardine on Forth, Fife, Scotland. It is the most powerful generating station in Scotland.

When constructed it was the largest and most powerful coal-fired station in Europe, and it is now the third largest, after Bełchatów in Poland and Drax in Yorkshire, England. It is a regional landmark, dominating the Forth skyline with its 183 m (600 feet) chimney stack. Like most other power stations in Scotland it lacks cooling towers, relying instead on river water as a coolant.

Longannet has an installed capacity of 2,400 MWe (megawatts electrical) which is equivalent to 2 Advanced gas-cooled reactor nuclear stations. There are four 600 MWe generation units, each featuring a single boiler feeding two 300 MWe GEC turbo-alternators, with the steam spaces cross coupled. The declared net capacity is rated at 2,304 MW due to operational losses. On average Longannet produces 10.4 TW·h (terawatt hours) per year and in 2000-2001 achieved the highest generation output in its history by supplying more than 12.25 TW·h to the National Grid.

Construction began in 1962 for the then South of Scotland Electricity Board (SSEB) adjacent to the existing Kincardine power station. Commissioned in 1972, it was originally supplied with coal directly from its own deep mine at Longannet Colliery. Coal consumption exceeds 10,000 tonnes per day. Longannet colliery, by then the last deep mine in Scotland, was forced into premature closure in 2002 due to flooding. All fuel therefore must now be imported, the majority via the former British Steel ore loading facility at Hunterston Terminal in Ayrshire. Onward transport is by rail and the level of traffic required to supply Longannet’s fuel demand has caused extreme congestion on the Scottish rail network. An alternative route, the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link, at the mouth of the river Forth was reopened in 2008.

Longannet produces fly ash at the rate of up to 4,350 tonnes per day, the majority of which is collected and either sold to industry or mixed with water and piped as a slurry to the nearby Preston Island. Here it is deposited in former salt pans, stablised and used to reclaim the land from the Firth of Forth. To improve environmental emissions, Longannet is now fitted with ‘Low-NOx’ burners to limit the formation of oxides of nitrogen and a ‘Gas Reburn system’ that uses natural gas to convert NOx into nitrogen and water vapour. Longannet also burns up to 65,000 tonnes of treated and dried sewage sludge per year, which has a similar calorific value to low-quality brown coal. In 2005, a judge ruled the burning of sludge as illegal, but the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) continues to allow Scottish Power to burn the sludge illegally as part of an agreement which requires Scottish Power to construct, and have in operation, a biomass plant in 2010.


Picture shot in RAW and converted and edited in PSE6.

All comments/critiques/advice welcome!

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1298 W: 396 N: 4933] (19774)
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