by John Clayson
In September 1963, with the closure of 'the Loco' (engine shed), the operation and maintenance of locomotives at Grantham came to an end. However work remained for locomotive drivers at Grantham, though their number was now greatly reduced. The drivers' base was transferred from the shed's time office, where footplatemen traditionally signed on and received the instructions and notices for their shift, to a Train Crew Depot located within the station buildings.
We believe the former buffet on the down side platform was initially used by the drivers as a temporary measure (can anyone comment?), but they soon joined the Grantham-based guards in refurbished accommodation at the south end of the main station buildings, aptly known as Grantham Train Crew Depot.
In the late 1980s Britain's railways were being reshaped ready for privatisation. The consequent reorganisation of train services left a diminishing amount of work for drivers at Grantham. On Saturday 12th May 1990 the Train Crew Depot closed. This really was the end of an era for the railway in the town. It brought to a close a 140 year tradition of distinguished railway footplate work.
Footplate staff began working from Grantham in 1850, when a small engine shed was brought into use at Ambergate Yard, near the canal basin, which was the original terminus of the line from Nottingham - the first railway to arrive in the town. The main line opened two years later and it was not long before the first of many generations of Grantham footplatemen established a deserved reputation for skilled locomotive work and fine timekeeping on what became the world's most prestigious high speed railway.
John Starbuck from Doncaster got in touch with us early in 2015. He kindly sent the following photographs, taken a few days before the Train Crew Depot closed ending the proud tradition of railway footplate work at Grantham. John said, "I worked for 16 years, 1984 - 2000, as Station Supervisor at Grantham and the Train Crew Depot was in full operation at the time of my arrival. I made great friends in the Train Crew Depot."
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