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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.

John Clayson




On Saturday 30th September 1967 there was a rail tour of the Stewarts & Lloyds (Minerals) Ltd. lines at Woolsthorpe and Harlaxton, including the stretch of the BR Woolsthorpe Branch between Denton and Casthorpe Junction.

This tour is described and illustrated in the current issue of Railway Bylines (Vol. 24: Issue 8, July 2019) on pages 356-360 Harston & Harlaxton Ironstone Quarries - Notes by Charles A. Rekab. The event marked the imminent replacement of the fleet of industrial steam locomotives by second-hand diesels puchased from British Rail.

This tour is among several that are noted on our page Rail Tour Rambles round Grantham.

Need to shake off the winter blues?

Why not rediscover the High Dyke Branch!

Surely, following our recent spell of Siberian weather, spring will soon be in the air.  If you fancy getting out and about while rediscovering some railway heritage let our new page, The High Dyke Branch Rediscovered - Part 1, be your guide.

John Pegg will show you the first 3 miles of the former branch line, from Highdyke Junction to the Great North Road near Colsterworth.  There's a great selection of photographs .  Most show scenes taken in summer 2017 but, mixed in, are some 'flashbacks' to the 1960s and the early 1970s when the line was still moving heavy loads of ironstone to the main line, the job it was built for in 1916-19.

So why not find your boots, burn off a few excess calories and clear away the cobwebs?

...and look out for Part 2 soon.

Keeping an eye on the user statistics for Tracks Through Grantham we're used to seeing an occasional surge in interest when we publish a new page.  However, around the middle of July there was a sudden spike in our viewing figures which wasn't set off by new content.  It was thanks to a favourable mention on RMweb of our Railways Rediscovered pages (about the former Woolsthorpe Branch) that, for a period of three days we practically trebled our normal readership.*  If you'd like to see what the RMweb contributors had to say you can find the start of the thread here.

Also recently, Richard Marshall was in touch, leaving a comment on our page The Woolsthorpe Branch Rediscovered – Part 2 and subsequently he sent us some photographs of a building which was connected with the ironstone quarries and remains standing today, near Harston.  You can discover the building by scrolling down to near the bottom of this page.

(* We should clarify that the site stats do not tell us who our users are.  They give the total number of views of each page per day and some indication of how those users have found Tracks through Grantham.)

We've said before that often we can't predict where the next idea for a new page on Tracks Through Grantham will appear.

When we showed a page from the Railways Rediscovered section of the Tracks Through Grantham website at our last meeting in Grantham, it led to a short discussion about rail tours which visited the various former ironstone branches, and about which lines had been travelled over on which tours.

In the few weeks since then we've been on the trail of information and photographs, which are assembled in our latest page Rail Tour Rambles round Grantham.