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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're a member of the Gresley Society you will have seen an evocative 13-page feature of Colin Walker's photographs from the 1950s and 1960s in the current (Autumn 2017, No. 173) edition of the Society's journal The Gresley Observer. The photographs were taken at a range of locations including the Loco (shed), the northern and the southern approaches, and at the passenger station. Colin was there on 'The Last Day' that Grantham Loco was operational, Saturday 7th September 1963, when he recorded some poignant views of the shed's remaining active A3s preparing to leave and departing: No. 60066, No. 60108 and No. 60112.
To become a member and secure a copy please see the membership page of the Society's website here.
Our own tribute to Colin Walker can be found here.
For our latest new page we move to one of the boundaries of the Tracks through Grantham 'sphere of interest' in terms of railway geography and infrastructure.
'Stoke Bank' is a legendary location, comprehensively written into East Coast Main Line history as one of the world's most renowned railway racing stretches where speed records have been made and broken.
But what about the signal box at the start of the descent (or, equally, at the summit of the ascent from both directions)? Many a train timer's stopwatch has clicked there, but few travellers spared much of a thought for the men on duty at Stoke box as they sped past. Many a loco crew, short of steam on a poor engine, have been thankful when the gradient changed from adverse to favourable as they exchanged a wave with the signalman at the isolated outpost.
Derek Steptoe's evocative memories of the box introduce a fine selection of photographs by Mike Mather and Noel Ingram.