When it comes to Grantham's association with the railway, Tracks through Grantham is one of many sources available. We aim to signpost other people's work recording and presenting the railway history of the town so, for example, there are lists of books, articles in magazines etc. here.
On the Internet, the saying 'other websites are also available' is as true for Grantham railway interest as it is for soap powder or chocolate bars, and below are links to pages which have appeared on the Grantham Matters website over the past six months since the beginning of November.
There isn't much information with some of the photos, so we've done some research and added notes. Most of the photos can be seen much more clearly by using your browser's 'zoom' function to magnify the page.
Two fascinating old photographs of work on the line, dated 1921
- The top picture appears to be the removal of weathered and degraded stone from the east side of Great Ponton Cutting, between Great Ponton station and Highdyke. When the cutting here was widened on that side for the new Up Goods line, in about 1875, it's likely that its side was left as a steep rock face. We got in touch with Richard Cumming who says, 'The top layers of Lincolnshire Limestone (which this is) are very weathered, i.e. loose and open, compared with the thicker solid seams down below. As a result they are prone to the actions of frost and rain. I think the men are dealing with a landslip, or a potential landslip, and have been removing all loose material from the side of the cutting leaving the rough, exposed uneven face of more solid material seen in the photo.'
The words on the side of the wagon are G N BALLAST WAGON NORTH DISTRICT.
Here and here are links to two later photos which show the same site – perhaps just a few yards further south - after the cutting sides had been graded back.
- We are sure that the lower picture is in the same locality. There was a bridge here, shown on maps dated c.1904, and it would be numbered Overbridge 232 in the civil engineer's records. The maps also show signal posts in the same locations; these would be starting signals for Great Ponton box, Up Main and Up Goods.
Running out of rails on one of the Ironstone Quarry Lines
The Ambergate Yard branch railway bridge over Dysart Road being removed
Station Master Harold Scampion in his best uniform welcomes a VIP to the station
- This photograph is captioned 'Future Prime Minister Anthony Eden entering Grantham station in 1951'.
The Grantham Journal reports Anthony Eden passing through the station on Tuesday 10th April 1951 to catch the 9.30am to London, having attended an event at Nottingham the previous evening.
Eden is on the right; on the left is Harold Scampion, Grantham Station Master from 1947 to 1963; in the centre is Stanley Hodgkins, Grantham Division Conservative party agent. In the background is the now long-gone Station Inspector's house, No. 9 Station Road.
At this time Eden was in opposition, but he had held important government posts during the 1930s and 1940s including twice being Foreign Secretary, to which post he would again be appointed, in October 1951, in the post-war Churchill government. Anthony Eden succeeded Winston Churchill as Prime Minister from April 1955 until January 1957.
Not specifically railway, but can you see the route of the main line and the High Dyke branch?
An odd piece of track...
A crowded platform
- Waiting for the Flying Scotsman Pullman on a Sunday, either 6th or 13th March 1983.
A crowded lineside!
- What the folk on the platform were waiting for. The top photo was at Stoke tunnel, not Peascliffe.
Barrowby Road bridge and signal box
A photo of the old Ambergate line terminus
Bob Balchin's been in touch about a fascinating collection of stories which might help to entertain us when we run out of - or get fed up with - DIY and gardening tasks etc. Called Real Railway Tales, it's a compilation of about 60 short accounts of railway people, places and incidents contributed from across the country and edited by two men who can each draw upon extensive careers on the railway.
Here's a description:
Running a railway is a complex business, constantly throwing up drama, misadventure and the unexpected. Geoff Body and Bill Parker have collated a rich selection of railwaymen's memories and anecdotes to create an enjoyable book of escapades and mishaps, illustrating the daily obstacles faced on the railways, from handling the new Eurostar to train catering, nights on the Tay Bridge to rail 'traffic cops', and from mystery derailments to track subsidence. However interesting the infrastructure of the large and varied railway business may be, the real heart of this great industry lies in its people, the complex jobs they occupy and the dedicated way in which they carry them out.
For us on Tracks through Grantham there's a story called Highdyke, describing the operation of the ironstone branch from Stainby and Sproxton, and another titled The Denton Branch.
About half the book, including the Highdyke chapter, can be accessed on the internet here. To see the rest you would need to either purchase or borrow a copy. Options include a buying Kindle version. The original paperback edition is currently available from several online second-hand booksellers.
Brian Maddison recently sent us three photographs he took during the construction of the extension at the south end of Grantham's Platform 4, about 30 years ago. You can find them on a new page here.
Tom Boustead's journey in photographs between Highdyke and Hougham has proved to be one of the most popular launches of a new page in the history of Tracks through Grantham. We're grateful to everyone who has left a comment on the site or has been in touch by email with feedback - it's all been very positive. Tom is responding to comments on the page individually as time allows, so please look back at the page from time to time.
We've also been busy updating and revising some of our older pages to improve or add detail, or to add new information and images that have come to light. One that's been through the shops for an intermediate overhaul and a freshen up is Turntables and Triangles, the story of locomotive turning at Grantham - now revised and improved!
Even the fairly recently published Fresh Fish Daily! page has been 'in works' for an upgrade, including links to two great photographs of Aberdeen to London express fish trains in the Edinburgh area.
If you've time on your hands waiting for 'the new normal' to kick in, here's a suggestion. To browse, and maybe purchase, photographs taken at Grantham, or at any other location, the following may interest you (listed in alphabetical order):
Try using 'Grantham', 'Barkston', 'Highdyke', 'Honnington' etc. in the search box.
(We have no commercial association with any of the above.)
Please stay safe everyone.
Mel and John
First of all, we hope this finds everyone keeping well and successfully staying out of harm’s way.
We’re especially pleased to launch our latest new page. During a period when many of us are 'confined to barracks', we thought it would be a pleasant diversion to get ourselves out and about, historically speaking, on the Tracks through Grantham section of the East Coast Main Line. So we offer a trip in space and time exploring 13 miles of the line, centred on Grantham, through the lens of photographer Tom Boustead's camera.
Tom’s pictures span five decades, from the 1950s to the 1990s, so they show the effects of sweeping change which affected everyone who worked for, travelled on or lived near the railway. The photographs also trace the imprint of the East Coast Main Line on the landscape of South Kesteven. We enjoy many viewpoints discovered by Tom, often with the benefit of his lineside photography permit.
So escape from Lockdown and enjoy Highdyke to Westborough in Fifty Pictures.
We'll be glad to receive feedback on all aspects of Tracks through Grantham so, if you'd like to leave us a note via the site, please do so as follows:
- for comments on a specific page (which may be included with the page after moderation), use the Comment box under 'Leave a Reply' which appears at the bottom of most pages
- otherwise, use the Contact Form here.
We introduce the crew, their O2 locomotive and a short but intensively used section of the East Coast Main Line as we ride on the footplate with Colin Walker between Grantham South and Highdyke. Travel back to a winter's day in the early 1960s to join them on our latest new page here.