Skip to content

Rail Tour Rambles round Grantham

Following up the interest sparked by our Railways Rediscovered pages, featuring the Woolsthorpe Branch and its ironstone connections, we have 'rediscovered' a number of almost forgotten railtours which travelled over local mineral and goods branches in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.  Here is a list of those we've found, along with some photographs.  If you have photographs taken at locations other than those we've featured, or you know of similar rail tours, please let us know.

It's worth remembering in connection with these tours that operating a passenger-carrying train over branches and sidings which are not equipped for passenger traffic involves much planning for railway staff in terms of special arrangements and instructions for working the trains safely and according to the rulebook.

With special thanks to Humphrey Platts for facilitating reference to The Railway Observer and to the Six Bells Junction website for its wealth of information about rail tours.


Saturday 6th July 1957: Denton Mines Rail Tour

Organiser: RCTS East Midlands Branch

  • Denton Mines loco depot - Cedar Hill - Denton Park - Denton BR Exchange Sidings - Denton Mines loco depot  [Stewarts & Lloyds (Minerals) Ltd. steam locomotive Belvoir]

(The Railway Observer Vol. 27 [1957] pp. 202-203)


Sunday 19th June 1960: The Leicestershire Woldsman

Organiser: The Railway Enthusiasts' Club

  • Leicester London Road - Melton Mowbray Town (via Market Harborough, Kettering, Oakham and Cottesmore Quarry) - Holwell Sidings - Wycomb Junction - Waltham-on-the-Wolds - Eaton Junction - Eaton Mines - Wycomb Junction - Scalford - Stathern Junction - Bottesford South & East Junctions - Grantham - High Dyke - Stainby Sidings - High Dyke - Grantham - Newark Northgate - Bottesford North & South Junctions - Melton Mowbray North - Marefield Junction - Leicester Belgrave Road

    [BR Standard 4MT 4-6-0 No. 75059 (+ No. 43046 at Cottesmore)]

Here is a link to this tour on the Six Bells Junction website (the page includes photographs and an image of the tour ticket)

Below are more photographs of the tour, at its beginning and end.

19/06/1960 - Leicester London Road.

19/06/1960 - Leicester Belgrave Road.


Saturday 29th April 1961: Vale of Belvoir Rail Tour

Organiser: RCTS East Midlands Branch

  • Nottingham Midland - Sneinton Junction - Trent Lane Junction - Saxondale Junction - Stathern Junction - Newark Northgate - High Dyke - Stainby Sidings - High Dyke - Barrowby Road - Ambergate Yard - Barrowby Road - Bottesford East Junction - Scalford - Waltham-on-the-Wolds - Eaton Junction - Eaton Mines - Eaton Junction - Wycomb Junction -  Holwell Sidings - Old Dalby - Nottingham Midland [BR DMU]

(The Railway Observer Vol. 31 [1961] pp. 168-169 and facing p. 200 [top])

Richard Marshall kindly supplied this map of the route of The Vale of Belvoir Rail Tour of 29th April 1961. On the day the Woolsthorpe Branch to Denton Sidings was omitted from the itinerary, but it was picked up by the following September's Denton / Harlaxton Rail Tour.
A ticket for The Vale of Belvoir Rail Tour.
Photograph kindly provided by Richard Marshall.

Here is a link to this tour on the Six Bells Junction website (the page includes an image of a special tour ticket)

Here is a link to a photograph taken at Stainby Sidings (the location in the caption is incorrect)

Here is a link to a photograph taken at Eaton Junction

Here is a link to a photograph taken at Waltham-on-the-Wolds (the location in the caption is incorrect)


Saturday 9th September 1961: Denton / Harlaxton Rail Tour

Organiser: RCTS East Midlands Branch

  • Nottingham Victoria - Belvoir - Casthorpe Junction [BR DMU]
  • Casthorpe Sidings - Harlaxton - Casthorpe Sidings [Stewarts & Lloyds (Minerals) Ltd. steam locomotive Achilles]
  • Casthorpe Junction - Denton Siding - Belvoir - Nottingham Victoria [BR DMU]

(The Railway Observer Vol. 31 [1961] p. 305)

Here is a link to this tour on the Six Bells Junction website (the page includes an image of a special tour ticket)

Here the special train has just passed under the road bridge near Stenwith, between Belvoir and Casthorpe Junction.
Photograph taken by Humphrey Platts.
At Casthorpe Sidings the party of more than 100 climbed into four open wagons for a trip to Harlaxton Quarries. The special train has just passed through the A607 road bridge. It's hauled by one of the quarry locomotives, 'Achilles', with Driver Steventon and Fireman Clapton in the cab.
Photograph taken by Humphrey Platts.

Sunday 3rd October 1964: Market Overton Yard to Stainby Sidings

Organiser: The Birmingham Locomotive Club - Industrial Locomotive Information Section (now The Industrial Railway Society)

  • Market Overton Yard - Buckminster Quarries (including Thistleton, No. 15 and No.16 Quarries) - Buckminster Yard - Stainby Sidings [Stewarts & Lloyds (Minerals) Ltd. steam locomotives Juno and Sewstern].

Information from The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands, Part VIII South Lincolnshire by Eric Tonks, pages 46-47.


Saturday 30th September 1967: Woolsthorpe and Harlaxton Mines

Organiser: The Birmingham Locomotive Club

  • Woolsthorpe Quarries - BR Denton Sidings - BR Casthorpe Sidings - Harlaxton Quarries [Stewarts & Lloyds (Minerals) Ltd. steam locomotive Ajax].

Information from Eric Tonks The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands, Part VIII South Lincolnshire, page 158 and Part IX Leicestershire, page 182.


Sunday 28th September 1969:  Stainby Sidings to Market Overton Yard

Organiser: The Birmingham Locomotive Club - Industrial Locomotive Information Section (now The Industrial Railway Society)

  • Stainby Sidings - Buckminster Yard - Buckminster Quarries - Market Overton Yard [Stewarts & Lloyds (Minerals) Ltd. diesel-hydraulic locomotive No. 21 - formerly British Railways D9552].

Information from The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands, Part VIII South Lincolnshire by Eric Tonks, pages 46-47 (includes photo).


Saturday 15th April 1972: Kesteven Ironstone Branches Rail Tour

Organiser: RCTS London Branch

  • Grantham - Belvoir - Denton Sidings - Belvoir - Grantham - High Dyke - Sproxton - Skillington Road Junction - Stainby Sidings - High Dyke - Grantham [BR DMU]

Here is a link to this tour on the Six Bells Junction website

The RCTS 'Kesteven Ironstone Branches' rail tour at Denton Sidings on Saturday 15th April 1972.
Photograph by Jack Faithfull.
This image is from the collection of The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS) ref. FAI2524 and is used here with permission.
The RCTS 'Kesteven Ironstone Branches' rail tour at Sproxton on Saturday 15th April 1972.
Photograph by Jack Faithfull.
This image is from the collection of The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS) ref. FAI2525 and is used here with permission.
The RCTS 'Kesteven Ironstone Branches' rail tour at Stainby Sidings on Saturday 15th April 1972.
Photograph by Jack Faithfull.
This image is from the collection of The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS) ref. FAI2527 and is used here with permission.
The RCTS 'Kesteven Ironstone Branches' rail tour at Stainby Sidings on Saturday 15th April 1972.
Photograph by Jack Faithfull.
This image is from the collection of The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS) ref. FAI2526 and is used here with permission.

Copyright note:  the article above is published with the appropriate permissions.  For information about copyright of the content of Tracks through Grantham  please read our Copyright page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *