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Roy Veasey – My Railway Life

Introduction
by John Clayson

In 2008 Grantham Museum exhibited some photographs my father took during our visits to the station back in the early 1960s. Through working with the museum I was privileged to meet some of the railwaymen who remembered us - the man with his young lad (me) and his camera, who arrived on Thursday afternoons, who got to know the men and women at the station and took their photographs, and who returned after a week or two with prints for them to take home to their families. Roy Veasey is one of those men.

We are delighted to present Roy’s recollections of his railway career. These pages form a lasting tribute to the wider railway community in Grantham because Roy has carefully gathered together the names of the many people with whom he worked.

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My Railway Life
by Gerald Roy Veasey

I started work on the L.N.E.R on December 28th 1942 in the Goods Office at Grantham station as a messenger boy. The stationmaster was Mr. H. Gardner; the goods agent was Mr. W. Lee; the chief clerk was Mr. H. Chevings and other clerks were: Miss. M. Brooks, Miss Chambers, Mrs. M. Craig, Miss M. Drury, Mrs. Duffey, Mr. B. Holloway, Mr. R. Holloway, Mr. Latter, Miss N. Latter, Mrs. Lee, Miss. M. Parker, and Miss B. Roberts. The goods inwards office had a chief clerk Mr. Wiltshire and a clerk Miss. B. Culpin. The accounts office had a chief clerk Mr. W. Selby; other clerks were: Miss M. Graham, Miss D. Grey and Mr. R. Horne.

My first job was to take messages from three phones and hand them to the staff concerned. My other jobs were to get the coal in for the fires and deliver messages to the goods shed foremen, whose names were: T. Chambers, G. Chappell, H. Morris, S. Morris and D. Oxby. The yard foreman was J. Sharp. I delivered messages to: the shunters’ foremen A. Hales, F. Marshall, and S. Musson; also to the signal boxes at Grantham North, Yard box and South box. The other messenger boys in the office were M. Coy and E. Lee.

My next job as a head messenger boy was to cycle round the town delivering letters, bills and invoices. The places I called at were: Aveling and Barford's offices and to the Railway Loading foreman A. Chappell in the factory; Ruston and Hornsby offices London Road and to the railway loading foreman B. Maycroft in the factory on Spitalgate Hill; R.H. Neal's, Dysart Road; Grantham Boiler and Crank Works, Dysart Road; British Marco in Springfield Road; Lee and Grinlings (corn merchants), Commercial Road; W. Swallow, Wharf Road; Hunter and Moye, Dysart Road; J. Pidcocks (Maltings), Welham Street; Henry Bell, Old Wharf Road; J. Harris Haulage, Harlaxton Road; Parson and Snape Coal Merchants, Westgate; H. Burton, Eaton Street; J. Storey, Union Street; Mowbray’s Brewery, Commercial Road; H Dales Mineral Waters, Bridge End Road; Mellotte Farming Implements, Wharf Road; Harrison’s Baby Carriage makers, Wharf Road; and Harrison’s Basket makers, Watergate. The goods delivery men with horse and dray were G. Ancliffe, H. Barber, T. Burton, R. Crunkorn, H. Gibson, A. Musson and H. West.

After just over two years as a messenger I decided to move on, so I applied for a job in a signal box as a telegraph boy, but the stationmaster would not release me from my job. I was talking to an engine driver called T. Jenkins on the platform about being turned down for a job in the signal box. He asked: "Would I like to work in the Loco Department?"  I said: "Yes." He said: "Leave it with me." So that’s how I got a job in the Loco Department starting in February 1945, first as an engine cleaner, then as a fireman.

When I became a fireman in the Loco I was working with a driver disposing of engines after returning from a trip; sometimes we had to turn the engine. Next job was to coal and water the tender then move to the ash pit to clean the fire, clean out the smokebox, swill the ashpan out and fill the sandboxes. Other work with a driver was to prepare engines ready for the road. First job was to collect the head lamps, shovel, coal hammer, and bucket of tools from the stores. In the bucket were two spanners, an oil feeder, gauge lamp, detonators and gauge glasses. Then put them on the engine. Next put the fire-irons on the tender, this included a clinker shovel, a dart and a pricker. Next job was to make the fire up, raise steam then assist the driver with the oiling. Top up the tender with coal and water, sometimes we had to turn the engine before putting it on the departure road.

My first job out of the Loco on the footplate was working on the goods yard shunt engine, then fireman on the passenger shunt engine in the station. Next I went to work on the iron ore branch at Highdyke, to Colsterworth, Stainby and Sproxton. Then on to working on goods trains: Grantham-Peterborough return, Grantham-Retford return, Grantham-Colwick return, Grantham-Lincoln return, then onto working ironstone trains - Highdyke to Lincoln via Honington, Leadenham, then onto Market Rasen return.

Next move was on to working passenger trains Grantham-Bottesford-Melton Mowbray-Leicester Belgrave Road, back from Leicester to Colwick with a goods train via Stathern and Bingham, then back to Grantham.  Passenger trains Grantham-Nottingham-Derby Friargate return, Grantham-Boston-Skegness return, Grantham-Lincoln return. Then on to stopping trains to Doncaster return, calling at Newark, Retford and all village stations, also stopping trains Grantham to Peterborough return, calling at all the village stations.

I started working on express trains in 1954 until 1960. These were passenger trains, parcel trains, meat trains, and fish trains. The routes for meat and fish trains were Grantham to King’s Gross goods yard. Passenger trains: Grantham to King’s Cross return, first calling at Peterborough; Grantham to Leeds calling at Doncaster and Wakefield and return; Grantham to Newcastle and return calling at Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle. Other routes I fired over were: Peterborough-Cambridge-Hitchin and return, Stevenage, Hertford branch, Wood Green, Northallerton, Stockton, Ferryhill, Tursdale, Sunderland, and Newcastle.

Roy as a fireman with his regular driver, Charlie Hopwood, on 19th June 1959 at Darlington with Class A1 locomotive No. 60142 Edward Fletcher. Photograph taken by Eric Treacy, lent by Roy Veasey.
Roy as a fireman with his regular driver, Charlie Hopwood, on 19th June 1959 at Darlington with Class A1 locomotive No. 60142 Edward Fletcher.
Photograph taken by Eric Treacy, lent by Roy Veasey.
Roy fired express trains on the main line from 1954 until 1960. In the mid-1950s each main line crew at Grantham was paired with another to share a regular locomotive. Roy and driver Charlie Hopwood had Class A1 No.60144 King's Courier. On 18th April 1963 this engine, by then of Doncaster (36A) motive power depot, is seen at the north end of platform 5 at Grantham, preparing to leave with a northbound express freight. Photograph by Cedric A. Clayson.
Roy fired express trains on the main line from 1954 until 1960. In the mid-1950s each main line crew at Grantham was paired with another to share a regular locomotive. Roy and driver Charlie Hopwood had Class A1 No.60144 King's Courier. On 18th April 1963 this engine, by then of Doncaster (36A) motive power depot, is seen at the north end of platform 5 at Grantham preparing to leave with a northbound express freight.
Photograph by Cedric A. Clayson.

The drivers I fired for regularly were: A. Bradbury, C. Hopwood, A. Johnson, S. Pearce, S. Roslin, J. Taylor, C. Tuckwood and G. Waltham.

Other drivers I fired for on occasions in the steam days were: W. Agg, L. Atterton, N. Baines, A. Brown, W. Burford, H. Butters, J. Bottomley, G. Chantry, B. Charlesworth, J. Dickinson, F. Edwards, S. Foweather, A. Godson, S. Harris, S. Harrison, R. Harsley, G. Harvey, J. Hayes, W. Heath, F. Heathershaw, E. Hough, G. Isaac, E. Johnson, E Jubb, W. Kennewell, W. Kettle, A. Kirk, F. Lawson. W. Leadbetter, L. Leeson, T. Nixon, A. Northern, H Parker, C. Reeves, A. Richardson, T. Ross, A. Rudkin, W. Ryder, F. Seal, W. Shelbourn, J. Slater, L. Sprague, T. Staples, L. Stennet, W. Thurlby, G. Ward, Dan Watson, S. Whitaker, J. Willetts.

After fifteen years as a fireman I was promoted to driver.

In 1960 I passed out for driving duties, driving trains on steam routes: Grantham-Nottingham-Derby; Grantham-Doncaster-Wakefield-Leeds; Grantham-Peterborough-King’s Cross and Grantham-Boston-Alford.

This is a page from the notebook where Roy recorded his driving trips. It tells us that he drove class A3 express locomotive No. 60065 Knight of Thistle, hauling train No.872 from King's Cross to Grantham. They departed from King's Cross on time at 4.57, stopped at Hitchin, Huntingdon and Peterborough, and arrived at Grantham 8.4, just one minute behind schedule.
This is a page from the notebook where Roy recorded his driving trips. It tells us that he drove class A3 express locomotive No. 60065 Knight of Thistle, hauling train No.872 from King's Cross to Grantham. They departed from King's Cross on time at 4.57, stopped at Hitchin, Huntingdon and Peterborough, and arrived at Grantham 8.4, just one minute behind schedule.
Class A3 locomotive No. 60065 which Roy was driving on the trip recorded on the page above. It is standing outside the 'New Shed' at Grantham on 1st August 1963. Photograph by Cedric A. Clayson.
Class A3 locomotive No. 60065 which Roy was driving on the trip recorded on the page above. It is standing outside the 'Top Shed' at Grantham on 1st August 1963.
Photograph by Cedric A. Clayson.
Roy waits at the door of the Passenger Shunters' cabin at the south end of the Down platform at Grantham station on 27th June 1963. Photo by Cedric A. Clayson.
Roy waits at the door of the Passenger Shunters' cabin at the south end of the Down platform at Grantham station on 27th June 1963.
Photo by Cedric A. Clayson.
Roy (fourth from left) with a group of locomotive crew and shed staff on 1st August 1963. Photograph by Cedric A. Clayson.
Roy (fourth from left) with a group of locomotive crew and shed staff on 1st August 1963.
Photograph by Cedric A. Clayson.

The routes I drove over with diesel engines were: Highdyke-Stainby-Sproxton; Grantham-Nottingham; Grantham-Boston-Skegness; Grantham-Retford-Sheffield-Woodhouse; Grantham-Peterborough-King’s Cross; Grantham-Newark-Lincoln-Market Rasen-Barnetby-Grimsby; Grantham-Newark-Lincoln-Barnetby-Scunthorpe; Grantham-Newark-Lincoln-Gainsborough-Doncaster; plus Grantham-Doncaster-Thorne-Scunthorpe; Newark to Bottesford; Sleaford to Lincoln; Barkston to Allington; and Grantham to York.

The types of diesels I drove were: 350 HP Shunting Engines; Class 31 Brush; Class 37 English Electric; Class 40 English Electric; Class 45; Class 47; Deltics; and Railcars.

Roy is at the controls of a Brush Type 2 (Class 31) main line diesel electric locomotive at Grantham in the 1970s. Photograph lent by Roy Veasey.
Roy is at the controls of a Brush Type 2 (Class 31) main line diesel electric locomotive at Grantham in the 1970s.
Photograph lent by Roy Veasey.

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Drivers at Grantham Loco and Train Crew Depot 1945-1988

A list compiled by Roy with additional forenames supplied in May 2011 by Peter Wilkinson of Lincoln, who was a cleaner and fireman at Grantham from March 1948 to August 1954.

William (Bill) Agg, H. Allen, Leslie Allen, Geoffrey A. Asher, Leonard Atterton;

Cyril Balaam, William (Bill) Bainbridge, John Baines, Norman S. Baines , William (Bill) Barnes, Walter Barnes, Alan Beck, George Bednall, Leslie Beeston, William (Billy) Bell, Albert Bellamy, S. [Sidney?] Bellamy, Bert Bennet, D. [Derek?] Bloodworth, Stanley Bond, Albert Bottomley, Jack Bottomley, Allan Bradbury, Sidney Bradley, Alex Brand, Percy Braybrook, Austin Brown, Michael A. ('Ma') Brown, Herbert Brownsell, William Burford, Reginald Burnett, Fred Burrows, William (Bill) Burton, Harry Butters;

William (Bill) Carman, Reginald Carrington, Albert Chantry, George Chantry, Jess Charity, Jack Charles, Herbert (Bert) L. Charlesworth , William (Bill) Christian, Graham Clark, Charlie Clayton, Ronald Clipsham, Horace Collingwood, Richard (Dick) Cook, George Coy, Arthur Cummings;

Jack Dear, Joseph (‘Long Joe’) Dickinson, Robert (Bob) Dodd, Jack Dodd, ‘Dossher’ Duggan;

Reginald Earl, Fred Edley, Frank Edwards, Gerald Edwards, S. Edwards, Arthur Eldred, Maurice Emmit, John Ephgrave, Roy Evans;

B. Footit, Sidney Foweather, P. [Peter?] Faulkner;

Jack Garland, Charlie Gibson, Joseph Glenn, Raymond Green, Arthur Godson, William Gooch;

C. Hall, J. Hall, Fred Harris, Sidney (‘SOS’) Harris, Jack Harrison, Thomas (Tom) Harrison, William (Bill) Harrison, Robert (Bob) Harsley, Gerald (Jerry) Harvey, Ted Harvey, Jack Hayes, Dick Healey, William (Bill) O. Heath , Fred Heathershaw, Horace Hedworth, T. (‘Trooper’) Henson, Maurice Hibbins, Jack Hollingsworth, Roy Holmes, G. (‘Geordie’) Hope, Charlie Hopwood, Ernie Hough, Matthew (Matt) Hudson , Roger Hunt;

Charles Inmonger, Robert (Bob) Ireland, Gerald (Gerry) Isaac[s];

Stanley (son of Walter) Jarvis, Walter Jarvis, Harry Jeffries, Ted Jenkinson, Arthur Johnson, Ernie Johnson, Harry Johnson, Jonny Jones, Ernie Jubb;

Ernie Kennewell, William Kennewell, Walter Kettle, Alex Kirk, Bernard (Benny) W. Kirk, Harry Knott;

George Lancaster, Sidney Lawrence, Frank (‘Tiny’) Lawson, Leonard Leeson, William (Bill) Leadbetter, Percy Lindley, Jack Lockwood;

Charlie Marshall, Jim Marshall, Leslie Marshall, Maurice Massingham, Edward (Ted) Matsell, William McKee, Arthur Measures , Roy Mitchell, Reginald Moore, Bob Morris, George Murgatroyd, A. [Arthur?] Musson, Fred Musson, Frank Musson;

Jim Neaves, George Newbury, Bernard Nickerson, Stan Nicholls, Frank Nicholson , Tommy Nixon, Arthur Northern;

P. ‘Pedlar’ Palmer, Harry M. Parker, Sam Pearce , Jack H. Perkins , Wilfred Philpotts, Jack Pickard, Eddie Phillips, John ‘Nobby’ Phillips, Jack Pinchbeck, William Pinchbeck;

Eric Ranby, Cecil Reeves, Alan Richardson, Norman Rilett, William Rimmington, Stanley (Stan) Robinson, Tommy Ross, Harry Royce, Sidney Royce, Bert Rudd, Alfred Rudkin, Leonard Ryder, Wilfred Ryder;

Fred Seal, George Selby, Alfred Sharp, Peter Shelbourne, W. Shelbourne, Frank Short, Claud Simpson, Noel ‘Rubber Neck’ Simpson, Arthur Skerrit, James (Jim) Slater, Bernard Smith, Eddie Smith, Ernie Smith, Leonard Sprague, Tommy Staples, Leslie Stennet[t], Pim Stevenson, William (Bill) Storey, Cecil Swingler , Rodger Symonds;

B. J. (‘Banjo’?) Taylor, George Taylor, G. Taylor ('Boc'), Jack Taylor, Percy Thompkins, P. Thompson, Geoffrey Thoro[ugh]good, William Thurlby, A. [Arthur?] Tindall, Arthur Travis, Charlie Tuckwood, Jack Tuckwood, Richard (Dick) Turpin;

G. R. [Roy] Veasey;

E. Walton , George Waltham, George Ward, George H. Ward , L. Warrington, C. B. D. Watson, Dan Watson, Don Watson, Sidney Whitaker, Richard (Dick) Widdowson, Jim Willetts, Kenneth (Ken, son of Jim) Willetts, ‘Tit’ Williams, Harold Winch, Derek Wing, Ernie Woollatt, Ernie ‘Buggie’ Worthington, Dennis Wright;

Sidney Youles, Jock Younger.

Loco Bosses 1945-1963
P. King, F. C. [Cyril] Richardson , J. L. Smith, Owen Travis, W. Wolfenden.

Loco Foremen 1945-1963
S. Banks, E. English, S. lngelton, J. M. Puffette, ?. Roslin, B. Skinner, S. Young.

Cleaner Foremen 1945-1963
[George Goodhand 1948-54], J. Berrage, G. Bott, T. Durney.

Loco Inspector
F. [Frederick (Fred)] Crowson.


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8 thoughts on “Roy Veasey – My Railway Life

  1. Tim Bradley

    Hello. Thank you for building this site. I found it after spending a couple of absorbing hours reading a few pages of the like named thread on LNER.info. I write this comment here after seeing my grandad's name above in the list of drivers. Sid Bradley was my grandad, I still have one of his grease top hats, a hat badge and his retirement watch "in appreciation of 45 years service". One little story that I remember him telling was of coming off a shift and going to the 'club' to play bowls in the early hours under the lights of the shed yard. I think his bowling mate was a guard by the name of Dick Knight. If anyone has any more memories of Sid I would love to hear them. My dad was a bit of a photographer too, I will go back and see if I can find anything interesting. Thanks again, Tim Bradley

    Reply
    1. boris bennett

      ref. driver S. Bradley
      Hi Tim,
      In answer to your request for information about your grandfather Sid Bradley, I knew him long before I started on the railway in 1940. He was always ready to stop and have a chat with young and old and was well respected by all.
      I only fired for him occasionally but I do remember one job when were working the single line ironstone railway. We had arrived at the bell where the guard would pin down 50% of the wagon brakes before descending the 1 in 40. I spotted that our engine was No.1974 and said to Sid, "I wonder where we shall be in 1974?" Back came the answer, "I don't know where you will be Boris, but I reckon I will be under some field helping to push up the daisies."
      I met Sid in the town after his retirement many times. He was still the same old Sid, pleased to stop and have a chat. The last time I saw him was on New Beacon Road where I think he had a flat.
      I hope this small piece of info will be of some use to you.
      Boris

      Reply
      1. Tim Bradley

        Hello Boris. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my query. Thanks too for the kind words and the little story, it helps with my memories of Sid. A typical Sid response I would imagine but sadly prophetic too. He did indeed live in New Beacon Road. Thanks again, Tim.

        Reply
  2. Lin Walker

    Can't believe I found this site after searching for my granddad. He was George Chantry and a lovely gentle chap who reminded me of Casey Jones when I was very little. Thank you so much for including his name.

    Reply
    1. tracksthroughgrantham

      Hello Lin,
      Thank you very much for your appreciative comment. It was thanks to retired driver Roy Veasey that your grandad is included - he carefully listed at the end of his story all the men he worked with at Grantham Loco (engine shed). I will send a note to his daughter so Roy will know that you've been in touch.
      All the best,
      John Clayson

      Reply
  3. Lin Walker

    I have read with interest today the relaunching of the Flying Scotsman and its return finally to the National Railway Museum at York. I am unsure if Grandad worked on The Scotsman and wondered if there was any way I could find out. With thanks. Lin

    Reply
  4. Paul Davidson

    Nice to see a mention of my great uncle Peter Shelbourne, who sadly died just after Christmas (2015). He was interviewed by Gravity FM and broadcast a couple of years ago.
    He started his career on the railways at the age of 14 cleaning trains in the loco, and many years later went on to become a driver. He used to work the main line, London - Edinburgh, and drove Flying Scotsman and Mallard during his time.

    Reply

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