Eddie Gallagher was one of the 4,000 ‘Tunnel Tigers’ who drilled, blasted and cleared the rocks from the inside of mighty Ben Cruachan over a period of six years from 1959 to 1965 to make way for the UK’s first pumped storage hydro power station.
Conditions for the men who worked at Cruachan during were highly dangerous and Eddie was among 15 men who tragically died during construction. These men are commemorated by the mural on the wall of the machine hall as well as in a specially commissioned tartan Drax created, which includes 15 strands of a special dark blue thread.
His family didn’t know much about where he had worked and believed him to have been killed in a mine until a chance meeting with Eddie’s long-lost fiancée in 2019, which inspired the family to plan a visit to Cruachan in May 2020.
The trip was unfortunately postponed due to Covid restrictions but on Friday 17th March this year, Eddie Gallagher’s family was finally able to make the trip to Cruachan for a tour from the visitor centre team, with some of the family travelling from as far as Sydney.
Director of Drax’s Scottish Assets, Ian Kinnaird, met the family during their tour. He said: “Visits from families of those who were tragically killed during the construction at Cruachan are a chance for us to learn more about these incredible men. Everyone involved has left a lasting legacy as part of the talented team who constructed this wonder of Scottish engineering.
“The team at Cruachan Visitor Centre take great pride in telling these men’s stories to our visitors. Everyone who visits has have complete admiration for their human endeavour that has led to Cruachan still being operational nearly 60 years after opening.”
After the visit, Eddie’s sisters each received a scarf made from the special tartan Drax commissioned to commemorate the men who built Cruachan.
Ann Buckley, Eddie’s niece, who organised the visit, said: “I want to thank the team at Cruachan so much for their help in organising this trip, which was really emotional for our family. We never knew where Eddie worked, and this has given us a whole new understanding. The team showed so much patience and generosity towards us and great respect for my uncle and the other men who lost their lives. We also appreciate that Ian took the time to meet us and we’re grateful for the commemorative tartan we were presented with, we will treasure it. It means a lot that the company will not let our uncle be forgotten.”
Pic caption 1: Eddie Gallagher’s sisters Mary Porter and Brid Moriarty, with nephew, Eddie, named after his uncle
Pic caption 2: The family of Eddie Gallagher on top of the dam at Cruachan Power Station
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Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.
Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.
The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4 million tonnes of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.
Pellet production and supply:
The Group has 19 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate production capacity of around 5 million tonnes a year.
Drax is targeting 8 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3 million tonnes of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.
Drax’s pellet plants supply biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses, and also to customers in Europe and Asia.
Drax supplies renewable electricity to UK businesses, offering a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.
To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com