Flying Scotsman’s stopover at Grantham, October 1973
photographs by Humphrey Platts
In October 1973 No. 4472 Flying Scotsman stopped off at Grantham overnight, en route to a new base established by Flying Scotsman Enterprises at Market Overton in Rutland. The train was stabled overnight at Grantham near the cattle dock on the Up side, south of the station. The following day it moved on to Market Overton, via High Dyke, Stainby and Sewstern.
In the early 1970s the British Steel Corporation (BSC) began the final rundown of ironstone mining in the area of South Lincolnshire, North East Leicestershire and Rutland. An idea took hold to use the soon-to-be-redundant ironstone railways and their associated engineering workshops for a new venture. The proposal envisaged:
an operational and maintenance base for preserved main line steam locomotives, linked to the East Coast Main Line at High Dyke;
a leisure amenity, including a museum of the ironstone industry and an opportunity for passenger rides on a few miles of former ironstone branch railway.
In 1972 a site at Market Overton in Rutland was occupied by Flying Scotsman Enterprises. The following year, in Lincolnshire, track between Stainby and Thistleton and workshop premises near Sewstern were acquired from the BSC by the landowner, Buckminster Trust Estate. The Market Overton and Sewstern workshops were linked by former ironstone railways and a remaining section of the Midland & Great Northern Joint line, which had closed as a through route in 1959. At Stainby there was a connection to the main line via the BR branch from High Dyke. During 1972 and 1973 much activity took place as a collection of locomotives and rolling stock was assembled.
For various reasons the project failed to gather momentum. Following the end of ironstone traffic British Rail was keen to remove the junction at High Dyke, to allow the main line to be realigned for high speed operation. Its closure, on and from 6th October 1974, signalled the collapse of the scheme. Flying Scotsman had already departed in March 1974.
You can read more about the 1972-74 scheme in Eric Tonks' The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands Part VIII South Lincolnshire, pages 61-67 headed The Preservation Experiment.
Arriving at Grantham
On Show at Grantham
Up the Branch
The map below shows the route of No. 4472 after leaving the main line at High Dyke, 5 miles south of Grantham, until it reached Market Overton.
Follow this link for a photograph of No.4472 just after arriving at Market Overton, with the Grantham train crew who had delivered it safely from the overnight stabling point in the former Up side goods yard.
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