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At Tracks through Grantham we've been discussing how we might 'do our bit' to mark the close of the modern Elizabethan era.

It was in 1953 that the world's longest regular non-stop train service was retitled The Elizabethan to mark the coronation of the new monarch, HM Queen Elizabeth II.  Since we heard Richard Cumming's presentation Steam on The Elizabethan 1953-1961 at our meeting in October 2021 it's been on our minds to feature The Elizabethan on our website.  It seems an opportune moment to realise this aim.

So we've gathered together photographs of The Elizabethan train service in the Grantham area from our website image library for a new page called At the Dawn of a New Era: ‘The Elizabethan’ in and around Grantham.  We think it’s an appropriate gesture and we hope you agree.

You can find the new page here, in our website's Traffic and Trains section.

All the best,

John Clayson and Mel Smith

It's time for our second selection of photographs taken exactly 60 years ago on one of a series of visits to Grantham station by my father and me.

The Tracks through Grantham time machine takes us back to Thursday 16th August 1962.  Go to the Sixty Years and Counting header page and scroll down to the link.

John Clayson

We're publishing some new pages of photographs taken at Grantham in the early 1960s.  Each group of pictures was taken on a visit made to the station by my father and me on a Thursday afternoon, and it will appear in a new page on or around the 60th anniversary of the trip.  The time span is between August 1961 and July 1964.  Our visits took place between spring and autumn, on 19 occasions in total.

The photos will be added to the Grantham Railway Galleries section of our website.  To find the first group, from Thursday 12th July 1962, go to the header page and scroll down to the link.

On the header page, with the note of each new group of pictures, there will be an invitation to look out for the next group.

We hope you enjoy the photos as they appear.

John Clayson

Above: The Nottingham branch at Gonerby Hill Foot from the 1929 OS 25-inch map showing the track layout at Gonerby Sidings between 1913 and January 1968.

Our April Meeting

Owing to personal circumstances we've postponed the meeting scheduled for 20th April.  We hope to hold it in the late spring or early summer.


A New Page

As we announced in the previous News item we've published a new page:

If you have information or photographs you can share with us about the railway in the vicinity of Gonerby please get in touch.


Some Updated Pages

However, several people have reported difficulty with slow loading of pages, and we're thankful for this feedback too.  The problem may be associated, to some extent, with the migration of the website to https:// which we carried out a few days after the launch of the new page.  It could also be connected with this page, as first published, being very long with multiple images.  We have therefore divided the content into three consecutive pages, with links to enable easy progress from the 'introduction' to 'part 1' (midnight to noon) and then on to 'part 2' (noon to midnight).

  • The RAF wartime career of Sydney Harmston, a clerk in the Stationmaster's Office, took him to Yugoslavia as a specialist in codes and cyphers.  It's newly featured in The Railway at Grantham in Wartime, 1939-1945  at item 4 (scroll down to halfway).

Steam World No. 418, April 2022

This latest issue of Steam World magazine has recently arrived and in it there’s a four-page photo feature (pages 24-27) titled Essendine to Grantham in 1960/61 in which ‘Nigel Harris dips into the superb East Coast Main Line photo-archive of the late Noel Ingram…

 This is ‘Part 1’ and the photos are all black and white; Part 2 will feature some of Noel Ingram's transparencies, but the author isn't specific about when that will appear.

Also on page 60 (lower photo), in an item called Pick’n’Mix, there’s another of Noel’s photos taken at Little Bytham – a colour one this time.


Rail-Online

In its own words, Rail-Online is a comprehensive online library of high quality railway photographs, from the 1900s to the present day.

Tony and the team are continually adding new pictures from some important collections among which are, for example, the superb photographs of TG (Gordon) Hepburn of Nottingham who made frequent visits to the Grantham area.

Below are links to 17 Grantham area photographs which appear in Rail-Online's ‘recently added’ folder:


Grantham Matters

In the past 3 months this local history website has published a few items of railway interest:


Cheers,

John & Mel

Early in August a website contact form arrived from David Page who enquired, "If you would like some reminiscences of a lifelong steam enthusiast from c.1950 onwards, including a few photos from the early 1960s to the present day, please feel free to contact me."

The very pleasing result is our latest new page, simply titled Grantham!, which connects David's earliest experiences of the railway at Grantham, in the early 1950s, with his enjoyment of 21st century main line steam.

The story begins with the memories of a young lad who in the early 1950s travelled by train from Nottingham to stay with an aunt and uncle.  Recollections include an A1, Kittiwake, in BR blue livery speeding north with a Pullman service; David also records his disappointment when the aunt and uncle moved away and he could, at least for the time being, no longer visit and enjoy the excitement of east coast expresses.

We look back at some local news items which illuminate the wavering relationship between loco spotters and the railway authorities at Grantham during the 1950s.

Happily, in the early 1960s David's relatives moved back to the town and he describes his reacquaintance with the Grantham railway scene.  Now he had a camera and a growing interest in photography, and also a feeling that he should try to make his own personal record of the last few years of east coast steam.  His endeavours extended to taking photographs from the windswept and chilly station platforms early in February 1963, in the midst of the UK's record-breaking arctic winter

The early 1960s may have been the finale, but there has been a curtain call.  The narrative and photographs extend into the age of digital imaging.  The page concludes with three superb pictures of northbound specials taken by David at Belton Lane. They are hauled by A3 No. 60103 Flying Scotsman, A4 No. 4464 Bittern and A1 No. 60163 Tornado  …and the A1 was in early BR blue, just as Kittiwake had been bedecked some six decades before.

The new page is in our Spotters' Corner section; the link above will take you directly to it.

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Tracks through Grantham have recently been in touch with Phil Wilson who lived in Grantham until the late 1960s.  Phil has kindly allowed TTG the opportunity to share some of his photographs and detailed notes made during many spotting trips around the area in the early 1960s. This is the latest page to be added to our Spotters Corner section. If you have a story of your own, then please do get in touch. You can visit Phil's page here

Edinburgh Haymarket-based A3 60100 Spearmint was a bit of a rare sight as far south as our Tracks through Grantham territory, so when the locomotive turned up in two separate stories recently sent in by Alan Wilce and Roger Bamber we were tempted to rename 60100 as Doublemint!  However, having chewed it over, we decided to keep things as they were, so hopefully our two new pages in 'Spotters’ Corner' from Roger and Alan will bring a breath of fresh air for our readers.

So join 13-year-old Roger Bamber on Grantham station in 1958, having travelled by bike over the hilly A607 from Leicester.  When opportunities arise to capture some Haymarket Rarities on film, Roger is ready with his camera.  One of the images is a photograph that helped to determine his career.

Then join Alan Wilce in 1960.  Alan arrived from Melton Mowbray in his parents' car.  His records were taken with pencil and notepad rather than film and now, with his Ian Allan ABC 'Combined Volume', his memories and some archive timetables, Alan re-creates for us the excitement of a 3-hour Summer Evening Visit to Grantham in 1960 during which 60100 Spearmint made another rare appearance at the station. 

 

In October 2019 we published a page of photographs taken by Colin Walker when he was a guest on the footplate of an O2 locomotive during a wintry trip from Grantham up to Highdyke Yard, A Trip to Highdyke in Winter's Chill.  The driver that day was 'Sam' Pearce.

Sam's grandson, Chris, has recently been in touch to share some memories of his grandfather Sam - a name which, in common with at least one other driver at Grantham known as 'Sam', wasn't actually his real name as you'll discover when you turn to our latest new page.

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.