Above: A southbound parcels train at Grantham on Thursday 22nd August 1963, hauled by class A3 No. 60054 Prince of Wales of Grantham shed (34F). This is thought to be the Delaval Sidings (Scotswood, Newcastle) to Holloway (North London) empty stock train 3E30, timed to pass Grantham at 7.30pm.
Photograph taken by Cedric A Clayson
by Kevin Roche
I have compiled the following table from a copy of the Summer 1961 Working Timetable which I borrowed in the late 1970s, having become interested in Grantham after purchasing one of Colin Walker’s books.
Parcels Trains at Grantham in Summer 1961
|Reporting Number||Origin - Destination||Duration of Grantham stop||Duration of Journey||Notes|
|3N10||King's Cross - York||00:05 - 00:42 (37min)||6h 42min|
|3E14||Smithfield (dep 23:00) - Doncaster (arr 03:40, non-stop)||02:32 (pass)||4h 40min|
|3N13||King's Cross (dep 22:55) - York (arr 06:52)||03:28 - 03:53 (25min)||7h 57min|
|3E03||York (dep 00:54) - Peterborough (arr 06:04)||04:04 - 05:10 (1h 6min)||5h 10min|
|1C49||King's Cross (dep 02:00) - Grantham (terminates) *see note below table||arr 05:04||3h 4min||Newspapers and parcels.|
|944||Grantham - Boston||dep 06:20|
|3E05||Newcastle (dep 00:16) - King's Cross (arr 11:02)||06:49 - 07:08 (19min)||10h 46min|
|3N08||King's Cross (dep 05:00) - York (arr 09:23)||07:11 - 07:17 (6min)||4h 23min|
|3E06||Joppa (dep 00:42) - Hornsey (12:35, non-stop)||08:40 (pass)||11h 53min||Empty Coaching Stock|
|764||King's Cross (dep 11:20) - Clifton (arr 20:30)||15.55 -16.17 (22min)||9h 10min||Empty Coaching Stock|
|3N09||King's Cross (dep 12:25) - York (arr 22:10)||17:17 - 18:36 (1h 19min)||9h 45min|
|3E30||Delaval Sidings Newcastle (dep 09.55) - Holloway (arr 00.22)||19:30 (pass)||14h 27min||Empty Coaching Stock|
|1845||Spalding (dep 19:02) - Grantham (terminates)||arr 20:50||1h 48min|
|2495||King's Cross (dep 18:14) - York (arr 23:44, non-stop)||21:15 (pass)||5h 28min|
|984||Grantham - Boston||dep 21:52|
|3B17||Doncaster (dep 20:30) - King's Cross (arr 01:30)||22:22 - 22:32 (10min)||5h|
|3N11||March (dep 20:50) - York (arr 00:55)||22:38 - 22:44 (6min)||4h 5min|
|3B18||Doncaster (dep 21:40) - Bounds Green (arr 00:40)||23:10 - 23:25 (15min)||6h 20min|
* The King's Cross (dep 02.00) newspaper and parcels train 1C49, which arrived at Grantham at 05.04, included vans that were forwarded to Boston and Lincoln. The vans would be attached to local passenger services which departed for Boston at 05.50 and Lincoln at 07.33. By 1961 these local services were normally operated by diesel multiple units (DMUs), known to Grantham railway staff as 'railcars'.
The parcels trains were run at express passenger speed while on the move, but many of them stopped frequently and for quite long periods for loading and unloading, resulting in some long journey durations. Typically, a train heading north from King's Cross could make stops at Welwyn, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Retford and Doncaster on the way to York.
Because many of the workings were at night there are not many sightings of the locomotives that were used. Generally, because they travelled at high speed they would be hauled by pacifics; V2s and 9Fs were also employed. During the summer of 1961 English Electric Type 4 (later class 40) diesels began to work regularly on certain daytime parcels workings.
Royal Mail Travelling Post Office (TPO) vans would make an appearance on certain night services to Scotland. Single parcels vans would often be attached to daytime express passenger trains, while several would be part of the overnight sleeper trains that ran to Newcastle and Scotland.
The mail carried on parcels trains was either ordinary mail, registered mail, parcels or newspapers.
As well as the main line parcels services, mail and parcels were loaded onto, and offloaded from, local passenger trains for Nottingham, Sleaford, Boston and Lincoln.
At this time the Mail Room at Grantham station was situated at the south end of the Down platform.
Mail to and from the Grantham area was transhipped between the station and the main post office in the town using road transport. A supply of barrows was kept at the station for carrying mailbags between the GPO vans and the platforms.
Newspapers were delivered for W H Smith, who were located at the station, and local newsagents.