We go down 170 m below ground. It is utterly, completely dark when we stand in the metal cage that takes us to the first level. The elevator door opens and we get our first glimpse of the tunnel that is the actual old mining shaft.
Everything is preserved the way it was when the mine closed down due to exhausting of the coal resources on that level.
We learn about the different types of coal that exist and can be mined, the dangers that the miners faced while working underground in the conditions that nowadays we would probably consider dangerous, and the various challenges that this particular level presented to the workers. Flooding of the mine was not unusual, as was the danger of encountering a pocket of methane gas.
One reason why the miners used timber to construct the walls and ceiling of the tunnel was the wood’s property to start SLOWLY cracking when the pressure of rock became to big therefore alerting those underground of the impending collapse and giving them time to escape. These days, when steel beams and rods are used, they require electronic sensors to serve the same purpose.