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The Lincolnshire Wolds Railway Society is about to launch a publication which may be of interest to many regular readers of Tracks Through Grantham.  Due out later this month, it can be ordered from the LWRS here.

In our newest page Kevin Roche describes a feature of railway activity which has disappeared from our passenger stations and all but vanished from the railway itself - the routine handling of mail, parcels and newspapers.

Using the Summer 1961 Working Timetable Kevin has compiled a list of parcels trains which stopped at Grantham, or passed through, daily.  Information from other sources, along with photographs taken in the 1960s, illustrate this important traffic which brought main line junction stations such as Grantham alive with activity at certain times of day as staff prepared for the arrival or departure of certain services.

Today on our stations in Britain there are no porters or post office staff to be seen heaving wooden barrows and trolleys along platforms, or up and down ramps, or into and out of goods lifts.  No bulging grey bags with their necks tied and sealed.  No strangely shaped packages with labels stuck or tied on.  These days there are no open trolleys, chained to station columns or other fixtures for safety and available for passengers, railway staff and spotters alike to use as as convenient seats.   Occupying a trolley was somehow much more satisfying than sitting on a station bench.  The  Swindon Works-built BRUTE (British Rail Universal Trolley Equipment) trolleys that began to replace the ancient wooden ones in the 1960s were caged and faced with cold, hard steel; a waste of space for any purpose other than their designed use.

Read all about Parcels, Mail and Newspaper Trains: Summer 1961 here.

Our next regular twice-a-year get-together for people interested in the Tracks through Grantham project will take place in Grantham in mid-October.  Always very enjoyable occasions, these events are an opportunity for our contributors and supporters to meet while enjoying a varied and, we hope, enjoyable and informative programme.

If you are already on our list of contacts you should recently have received the programme.  Please remember to let us know if you hope to be with us.

If you're interested in attending but have not received a programme please get in touch, using the Contact Form here, and we will send you information - date, time, venue and programme.  We cannot publish these details on the website because we need to know how many people to expect.

Friends who were with us at the April get-together may remember that we spent a little time recalling the career  of Grantham railwayman Jack Ashford who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.  However, we'd lost track of him following his distinguished war service.

As a result of the discussion in April there was a suggestion that Jack returned to the railway after the war and worked in the yard at Highdyke.  Graham Wareham then sent in a photograph showing  Jack outside one of the cabins at Highdyke, with some of the other men who worked there.

Recently a search of The Grantham Journal has revealed that Jack was a keen angler and that he enjoyed considerable success at the sport, captaining the Grantham BRSA angling team.

We've added the photograph and a newspaper article at the end of the page The Railway at Grantham in Wartime 1939-45.

We have just published our introduction for the start of a new section on the website that will tell the story of the Diesel Era at Grantham. You can read more about the background to this and the reasons for the transitional change from steam to diesel power by visiting the first part of our new section here.

Mel Smith

Above: Class O2/4 locomotive No. 63931 is travelling tender-first through Grantham station on the Down Main line on 27th June 1963.  Later in the afternoon it returned south hauling empty ironstone wagons.
Photograph by Cedric Clayson, © John Clayson.

Our latest new page is a table created by Kevin Roche where he lists all the Class O2 'Tango' heavy freight locomotives that have been based at Grantham.  As we heard from Tony Wright and Grahame Wareham in their presentation Talking Tangos: knowing your O2s at the October 2017 Tracks through Grantham get-together, the history of the O2 class is a complex one.  This compilation of Kevin's will help to make it more understandable.

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Alan Curtis's earliest railway memory was hearing and watching steam trains as they passed along the Boston to Spalding line, situated only a short distance from his parents' house. Some years later after he had started at secondary school, he became more interested in the local railway scene and spotting locomotives. Alan made many trips to Grantham and luckily for us on a few occasions made a photographic record of what he saw. You can read more about his photographic trips to Grantham here

In February 1980 Doncaster Power Signal Box extended its area of operation to include Grantham.  In our latest new feature Andy Overton provides a unique insight into the work of signalling in a power box, including the vital role of communication with station staff at Grantham.  There's also the frustration of prioritising train movements effectively through an over-rationalised track layout in the era of the privatised railway.  It's a fascinating read.

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Jeremy Stone discovered this eight-minute video recently published on YouTube.  Locations are not identified, but we think they could be as follows:

0:00 - 2:35 somewhere on Stoke Bank (Swayfield?)

2:35 - 2:52 Peascliffe Tunnel southern approach (60013)

2:52 - 3:18 Stoke Tunnel southern approach (4472)

3:18 - 3:50 Barkston

3:50 - 4:16 Tweedmouth

3:16 - 4:35 cannot identify (but quite distinctive - can anyone help?) - it's Benton North Junction, north of Newcastle, see the comment below

4:35 - 5:12 somewhere on Stoke Bank

5:12 - 7:33 Barkston (in the snow, with a fearsome easterly blowing!)

7:33 - 7:37 somewhere on Stoke Bank (in the snow)

7:37 - 8:11 Peascliffe Tunel (southern approach)

 

Need to shake off the winter blues?

Why not rediscover the High Dyke Branch!

Surely, following our recent spell of Siberian weather, spring will soon be in the air.  If you fancy getting out and about while rediscovering some railway heritage let our new page, The High Dyke Branch Rediscovered - Part 1, be your guide.

John Pegg will show you the first 3 miles of the former branch line, from Highdyke Junction to the Great North Road near Colsterworth.  There's a great selection of photographs .  Most show scenes taken in summer 2017 but, mixed in, are some 'flashbacks' to the 1960s and the early 1970s when the line was still moving heavy loads of ironstone to the main line, the job it was built for in 1916-19.

So why not find your boots, burn off a few excess calories and clear away the cobwebs?

...and look out for Part 2 soon.