based on the Summer 1961 Working Timetable
An illustrated* description of a typical 24-hour period at Grantham station.
*Suitable photographs have been included within this article for your enjoyment. They represent similar trains during the years before and after the period depicted (1961)*
The original idea for this page came from Kevin Roche, one of our valued contributors. We thought it was a really good idea, so in collaboration with Kevin the TTG team have taken things forward and developed and created this page. It's been a mammoth task, but now, following an extensive period of research and detailed analysis of the Summer 1961 Working Time Table (WTT), we can bring you a minute-by-minute account of the many workings and movements taking place at Grantham over a typical 24 hour period. It will be a long haul, literally around the clock from midnight to midnight, so you will need to bring an ample supply of sandwiches and a large vacuum flask. Both of these can be replenished during normal opening hours by visiting the Refreshment Room situated on Platform 2.
With our starting time of midnight now drawing closer, those summer nights can often turn a bit chilly, so a suitable coat should be considered. Oh... and don't forget your notebook and a few spare pencils! Have you got the stamina to stay up all night? Come with us as we travel back in time to the summer of 1961...
Due to lateness of the hour and with no suitable (much preferred) connecting trains available, we have made the journey to Grantham by car. We arrive at the station at about 11.30pm and after parking up in a side street, pass through the main entrance. There's ample time for us to look around the station and get our bearings. For those not too familiar with the layout of the platforms at Grantham in 1961 we've included some useful aerial photographs:-
After the aerial tour and with our feet now firmly on the ground, here's a selection of photographs taken at platform level.
So there's an idea of the general setting for our epic 24 hour observation, but what will we be seeing?
For those readers who may not have a good knowledge of the motive power passing through Grantham at this time, and to hopefully help you visualise events, we have provided a simple profile for each locomotive type:-
Gresley A4 class streamlined 'Pacifics' with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement (Nos 60001 to 60034).
Gresley A3 class 'Pacifics' with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement (Nos 60035 to 60112). A programme of fitting German type smoke deflectors commenced with Grantham allocated A3 60049 Galtee More in October 1960. Six of the A3s allocated to Grantham were so modified.
Gresley A3 class 'Pacifics' with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement (Nos 60035 to 60112).
Peppercorn A2 class 'Pacifics' with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement (Nos 60525 to 60539).
Thompson A2/3 class 'Pacifics' with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement (Nos 60500, 60511 to 60524).
Peppercorn A1 class 'Pacifics' with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement (Nos 60114 to 60162).
Gresley V2 'Green Arrow' class with a 2-6-2 wheel arrangement (Nos 60800 to 60983).
Thompson B1 class with a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement (Nos 61000 to 61409).
Gresley K3 class with a 2-6-0 wheel arrangement (Nos 61800 to 61992).
Peppercorn K1 class with a 2-6-0 wheel arrangement (Nos 62001 to 62070).
Gresley O2 class with a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement (Nos 63922 to 63987).
Thompson L1 class with a 2-6-4T wheel arrangement (Nos 67701 to 67800).
Riddles WD class with a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement (Nos 90000 to 90732)
BR 9F class with a 2-10-0 wheel arrangement (Nos 92000 to 92250).
English Electric (EE) Type 5 Co-Co Diesel (Deltics) Nos D9000 to D9021).
English Electric (EE) Type 4 1Co-Co1 Diesel (Nos D200 to D399).
BR Derby Works class 114 Heavyweight Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) (Nos E50000 to E50049).
The locomotive types illustrated above and described in our main narrative were all allocated to a particular shed or depot. This is shown in brackets after the locomotive type e.g. A3 (34F) which just happens to be Grantham.
The others are as follows:-
(34A) King's Cross - London. (34E) New England - Peterborough. (34F) Grantham. (34G) Finsbury Park - North London. (36A) Doncaster. (36C) Frodingham - Scunthorpe. (40E) Colwick - Nottingham. (41A) Sheffield (Darnall). (50A) York. (52A) Gateshead. (52B) Heaton - Newcastle. (55H) Neville Hill - Leeds. (56B) Ardsley - Leeds. (56C) Copley Hill - Leeds. (64B) Haymarket - Edinburgh.
A Word about Train Numbers and Headcodes.
Each train service on the railway (passenger or goods, regular or special) has an identification number or code although unlike, say, airline flight numbers, train numbers in Britain are not generally used in public timetables.
In 1961 the East Coast Main Line was transitioning from a decades-old system in which each train number was a simple number of up to four digits, but there was no embedded code by which anything about the train could be inferred, to a four-character headcode system of ‘digit-letter-double-digit’ which conveyed significant information about the train's type and its route.
The Old System - phased out from 1961
Under the old system lamps positioned on the front of locomotives were the means of identifying the type (or 'class') of train being hauled - see the diagram and the list below).
Under the old system, train numbers were not displayed on the locomotive.
The New System - introduced in 1961
From the early 1960s most main line diesel and electric locomotives were fitted with large four-character roller blind indicators at both ends, so that train numbers could be displayed to signalmen and others.
So, for example, if in the early 1960s you took the 10:00 am departure from London King's Cross to Edinburgh, (The Flying Scotsman) your driver, guard and everyone who signalled it along the route would know it as train '1A16'.
We identify each train as they appear within the 1961 WTT narrative by showing the train number in brackets e.g. (1A16).
Today, signalling is largely achieved electronically rather than visually and there is no display at the front. A train is identified by its number displayed on screens in signalling centres.
Why we chose to look at the Summer 1961 Working Timetable
The relatively short time covered by the Summer 1961 WTT (12th June to 10th September 1961) is of considerable interest. A changeover from steam to diesel traction during the period that followed it (i.e. the Accelerated Winter 1961 WTT) saw a large increase in the regular use of English Electric (EE) Type 5 (later Class 55) ‘Deltic’ diesel locomotives. These were being put to use on scheduled services up and down the East Coast Main Line (ECML). In fact 1961 also heralded the last recorded observations of certain former LNER Pacific types through Grantham and, after many years on regular services, a few ‘favourites’ started to disappear. For example, in January 1961 A2/1 60508 Duke of Rothesay appeared for the last time, whilst in June 1961 A2/2 60503 Earl Marischal made a final appearance. Away from the main line the surviving examples of the smaller LNER steam locomotive types were also being withdrawn locally at Colwick (40E) and New England (34E) namely J6 (0-6-0), J15 (0-6-0), J39 (0-6-0), J69 (0-6-0T), and K2 (2-6-0) classes. The last N2s (0-6-2T) allocated to Grantham and employed on station pilot duties lasted until June 1961, after which they were replaced by L1 2-6-4T locomotives.
As far as we have been able to determine, allocations at Grantham MPD (34F) at this time were roughly as follows:-
A3 class 4-6-2 - eleven locomotives allocated.
O2 class 2-8-0 - eleven locomotives allocated.
V2 class 2-6-2 - seven locomotives allocated, short term just for the summer timetable.
B1 class 4-6-0 - four locomotives allocated.
N2 class 0-6-2T - five locomotives allocated until July 1961.
L1 class 2-6-4T - nine locomotives allocated from July 1961.
For a few years during this period there would also be an influx of V2s each summer to assist with relief passenger and express freight duties. Although a significant number of A3s were allocated, the number of regular diagrams they were required to cover was quite small. Engine changing on express passenger trains was still a feature at Grantham but this had significantly reduced since reaching a peak during the 1950s.
At this time a programme of fitting German-style smoke deflectors, which commenced with Grantham allocated A3 60049 Galtee More in October 1960, was well under way and six of the A3s allocated to Grantham were so modified.
Quite a number of express passenger trains were now in the hands of the EE (English Electric) Type 4 (later class 40) 1Co-Co1 diesel locomotives, allocated to various ECML depots. However the passenger trains running from King’s Cross to The West Riding were mainly operated with Copley Hill based A1s. There were also still regular duties for A4s from Kings Cross to Grantham and further north. However, on other express turns still in the hands of steam, there did not appear to be any regular pattern, with Pacifics and V2s from a variety of depots putting in an appearance i.e. New England (34E), Doncaster (36A), York (50A), Gateshead (52A) and Heaton (52B). The Summer 1961 WTT also marked the last regular steam working (8th September 1961) of The Non-Stop Elizabethan between King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley. The last day produced A4 No 60009 Union of South Africa on the up service and record holder A4 No 60022 Mallard on the down train.
Local passenger trains originating from Grantham were generally in the hands of Lincoln based Class 114 Derby Heavyweight Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs), although the services to Nottingham Victoria and onwards to Derby Friargate also saw the use of steam locomotives, primarily L1s operating alongside the DMUs. Class C express freight trains were usually hauled by V2s and 9Fs although EE (English Electric) Type 4 Diesels (later Class 40) were by now being utilised.
There was also a significant alteration in the make-up of the Anglo-Scottish cement trains, with a gradual changeover that summer from the use of the original ‘Presflo’ wagons to the new, lighter ‘Cemflo’. Steam power in the form of 9Fs and V2s also held sway prior to the change-over at the end of the year to Class 33 BRCW diesel haulage.
Occasional fitted ironstone Trains were also operated to Aldwarke near Rotherham and the Stanton & Staveley Works near Ilkeston.
During our 24 hour observation various Light Engine movements of steam and diesel types would also be taking place. Locomotives would be going to and from Doncaster Works. Some of these were new, whilst others were destined for withdrawal, as well as those for general overhaul or minor repairs.
As mentioned earlier, during the summer of 1961 the first batch of EE (English Electric) Type 5 (later Class 55) Deltic diesel locomotives (numbered D9006 - D9012) entered service. These locomotives were involved in acceptance trials from Doncaster Works after delivery from the English Electric Vulcan Foundry at Newton-le-Willows. Typical workings would initially involve haulage of a full train to Grantham and return. If everything was found to be alright then an extended trip would be carried out the next day to Peterborough. A single diagram for the ‘Deltics’ was introduced at the start of the summer season which extended to six trains along the ECML (East Coast Main Line).
Other classes of Diesel had also being introduced and ongoing acceptance trials were carried out on the main line south from Doncaster. Examples were Birmingham R.C. & W. Co. Type 2 (later Class 26) Diesels (numbered D5347 - D5352) and EE Type 3 (later Class 37) Diesels (numbered D6718 - D6726) which were making an appearance during at this time. Again, the policy was for an initial trip to Grantham followed by a longer trip to Peterborough, but in this case with shorter formations of coaches.
Sleeper, Parcels and Royal Mail trains could also be seen passing through Grantham, along with various Departmental workings, all of these adding to the great variety of trains to be observed in and around the station in 1961.
So that’s a general overview on what was happening up and down the ECML, and in particular at Grantham, during the summer of 1961.
This is the actual clock that for many years hung on the wall in the Stationmaster's Office at Grantham and of course it was quietly sitting there in 1961, ticking away the hours, minutes and seconds of every day. It's therefore very fitting that we will use this particular timepiece to show each passing hour as we move forward in time through our 24 hour observation.
The Summer Working Timetable - 12th June to 10th September 1961
As well as including a running commentary we have also shown the WTT 24 hour period as four roughly six hour tables, numbered 1 to 4. To fit all of the information in to each table it's obviously been a tight squeeze, but you should be able to 'zoom in' on each table.
Now click this link to go forward to 24 Hours at Grantham Station in 1961: part 1, midnight to noon