For over 120 years, coal was carried down the Aire & Calder Navigation for shipment at the Port of Goole by 'Tom Puddings'. These were container boats, each one capable of carrying up to 40 tons of coal. They were coupled together in trains, often comprising of more than 20 'Tom Puddings', each train carrying a total of 700 tons of coal. Special tugs towed them down the navigation to Goole Docks, from where the coal was shipped around the coast or over the North Sea to the continent.
Transportation - Cargo and Freight
At Goole, each 'Tom Pudding' was raised out of the water and emptied by a hydraulically operated lift. By the First World war there were five of these, each one allowing the 'Tom Pudding's' cargo of coal to be tipped, quickly and efficiently, into the hold of a waiting coaster. It was one of the most effective cargo carrying and transshipping systems to be used on waterways anywhere in the world and was devised by the Navigation's Engineer, William Bartholomew. It came into operation in 1863.