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We're pleased to say that service on Tracks through Grantham appears to be back to normal on all (IT) platforms.  This follows the resolution of a problem which caused the non-appearance of some of our images on some types of IT device and was the subject of our post on 8th March.

If you think the website is not 'behaving itself' in any respect please get in touch, using a Contact Form, and describe as clearly as you can what's happening.  Some problems, and the recent one is an example, are quite selective in how they manifest themselves, so we may only pick them up through a user's comment.

If you access the Tracks through Grantham website using certain types of IT device you may have noticed in recent weeks that sometimes there are pictures missing, though their captions still appear.  The problem especially affects our newest pages, and we're aware that it's evident on some mobile phones and also on some pcs running Windows 7.

We're 'on the case' with this and we hope to be back to normal soon.

For those who'd like a little more background, to improve the security of our image library we installed a plugin (piece of software).  This has done the trick by protecting the images better, but it has had the side-effect of preventing certain 'platforms' (types of IT device) from receiving the protected images.  We've raised this with the plugin designer and they are currently working on a fix.

So, if you find that our pages have images missing and you have an alternative IT device available, please move to another platform temporarily (...and safely, using the footbridge of course) to continue to access Tracks through Grantham services.  By way of a guide, we're fairly sure that Windows 10 pcs are not affected (and we've tried several browsers).  However, we hope it will not be long before normal service resumes on all platforms.

In our introductory article, that covered the early main line diesel scene at Grantham, we briefly looked at some of the reasons behind the transition from steam to diesel power on Britain's railway system, in particular the main line through Grantham. But what about the cross country secondary lines that linked Grantham with other urban areas, such as Lincoln and Nottingham? Our next article is all about the introduction of 'Railcars' during the diesel era and has just been published.

Can you remember the first generation Railcars? Perhaps you referred to them as Diesel Multiple Units, or maybe DMUs for short? Our new article begins here.

Andy Overton has been in touch to ask if someone can help him with a piece of research on ECML signalling history from 40 years back.  Andy says:

A mystery that has defeated me for many years surrounds the 1978 works in Stoke Tunnel.  I know some bits of the story, but not all.

Here's what I know.  Between 10 September and 22 October 1978 there was single line working through Stoke Tunnel.  10/09/1978 – 30/09/1978 the Up Main was used, 01/10/1978 – 22/10/1978 the Down Main was used.  The emergency facing and trailing crossovers at Stoke were taken off control of the Ground Switch Panel and were worked from the Stoke Local Control Panel in the relay room, which was designated as a signal box for the duration of the work and called Stoke Temporary.  Additional facing and trailing crossovers, worked from Stoke Temporary, were installed north of the tunnel.  The temporary signal box also gained control of some of Grantham’s signals at Highdyke in order to fully control the single line at both ends.  The single line was fully signalled in both directions, so no Pilotman was necessary.

Now the bits I don’t know.  The Local Control Panel from the relay room had to be altered to match the altered signalling in connection with the single line working.  The story passed down to me is that the panel in the temporary box comprised this altered panel, plus ‘two extensions at each end’.  It’s the ‘extensions at each end’ bit which sits uncomfortably with me as I can’t see why the panel would need to be extended, certainly not at the Stoke end.  Altered yes, extended no.  I would dearly like to be able to question someone with first-hand knowledge of what the panel comprised of during this work to get the facts pinned down 100% correct.

If you're able to shed some light on Andy's enquiry, or if you know someone who may be able to help, please let us know using a Contact Form on our Contact Us page and we will forward your message to Andy.

Andy's page Signalling at Grantham from Doncaster Power Signal Box  can be read here, and there's a page about 'the original' Stoke box here.

This is an announcement of September 1978 from Inter City to make passengers aware of how the lowering of the track inside three tunnels on the East Coast Main Line would affect journey times over the coming months. It illustrates how the tunnels (B, C and D) were to be enlarged to allow larger continental containers (A) to pass through.
Two of the affected tunnels were either side of Grantham, at Stoke and Peascliffe, and thus under the control of Grantham signal box.
From the Local Studies Collection at Grantham Library.

For nearly five years in the early 1980s Steve Philpott worked for the Royal Mail in Grantham.  Interested in railways, he particularly remembers shifts worked on the station where, until late 1982, mail to and from Grantham and the local area arrived and departed by train.

Steve's Mailbag Memories were previously published in our Christmas 2018 Newsletter, and we are now delighted to share them here, on the website, where the story is enhanced by many more photographs than we had room for in the Newsletter.  There are pictures from Steve's own collection and from the collections of other photographers which have been kindly made available to Tracks through Grantham.

Thanks for the Memories, Steve!

Above: View along the track towards Highdyke signal box c. 1970s.  The sleeper-built buffer stop referred to below is on the right.
Photograph by Peter Green
This image is from the collection of The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS) ref. PG00606 and is used here with permission.

This post is a gathering together of recent references and snippets on the subject of railways roundabout Grantham we've discovered here and there.

  • There's a two-page colour photo feature A Look at Lincolnshire in the current issue of Backtrack magazine (February 2019, Vol. 33 No. 2), where three of the five superbly reproduced pictures were taken by A J Clarke at Grantham - and a fourth is at Barkston South Junction (on pages 82-83).  Can anyone recognise the driver of 60056 Centenary?
  • The January/February issue of Great Northern News (No. 223), distributed to members of The Great Northern Railway Society, carries a short article titled Buffer Stop at High Dyke on page 223.11.  This is based on a GNR drawing from 1888 of a sleeper-built buffer stop, which was discovered in the National Archive at Kew, London.

If you've seen something that we've missed just let us know and we'll update the list.

John Aldous, former Grantham cleaner and fireman, recently sent us some more memories of his time on the footplate which we're sharing in a new page here.  It's a pleasing complement to our popular series exploring the Woolsthorpe and High Dyke branches, Railways Rediscovered, because John spent many hours on ironstone trains, both up the High Dyke Branch, bringing the heavy mineral out from the quarries there, and on the main line delivering it to the steelworks.

The High Dyke Branch Rediscovered - Part 2

Our Railways Rediscovered series has proved to be very popular. First we explored the old Woolsthorpe Branch, from Belvoir Junction near Muston to Denton and Harlaxton, and then we followed up with the first 3 miles of the former High Dyke Branch.

As our contribution to setting 2019 off to a healthy start we're redoubling our efforts to help Tracks through Grantham readers burn off excess calories after the Christmas and New Year season.  If you'd like to get out and about, stretch your legs, and fill your lungs with fresh air why not take yourself out into the countryside and rediscover the next part of the old High Dyke Branch?  Or you can enjoy the journey from the comfort of your home.

The High Dyke Branch Rediscovered - Part 2 begins here.

Chris Kidd has recently been in touch to share some short clips of film made by his father at the lineside south of Grantham in the early 1960s.  In this chilly winter season we could all do with a taste of summer.

John Clayson