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24 Hours at Grantham Station in 1961: part 1, midnight to noon

Table 1: This will show 'the twilight hours' i.e. the period between midnight and around 6.00am. It is a time of intense activity at the station. There are arrivals, departures and the sorting of several parcels trains, along with other parcels and all of the mail that was destined for the secondary lines emanating from Grantham, including early edition newspapers for the local W.H. Smith outlets.

During these early hours we will observe the passage of several 'Anglo Scottish' and 'Tyneside Sleeper' services. Some express services provided limited sleeping facilities, whilst others, such as The Down 'Night Scotsman' were provided with totally exclusive 1st class sleeping facilities for passenger accommodation. It was also possible to see Royal Mail TPO (Travelling Post Office) coaches appearing on a few of these overnight trains.

Mixed in with this busy scene was the movement of various Class C Express Freights. Of particular note were express freights that carried perishable food products from Aberdeen to Kings Cross.  Meat and fish trains would both require regular engine changes at Grantham. Blue Spot Fish Vans were employed on the fish trains whilst meat was conveyed in containers carried on Conflat wagons.

As the early morning period came to an end, a steady procession (southwards) of ex-LNER O2 goods locomotives would take place from Grantham MPD (34F). They were on their way to take up pilot duties on the steeply graded branch lines leading from Highdyke Yard to the various ironstone quarries they served.

Of course it was difficult for us to have identified every single engine type on these workings. Instead we show a flavour selected from actual recorded observations at suitable points in our narrative.

TABLE 1  

From around midnight to the early hours. This section covers the period from 11.52pm to 6.35am

 


Let's get started.

Although the days are long during the summer months, at this hour the station is suitably illuminated by soft lights, but there are still odd pockets of semi-gloom under the canopies.  The rain that came earlier has now cleared away to the east, leaving damp patches on the platforms.  Further along we can see a couple of railwaymen half hidden in shadow, busily talking. One of them offers the other a cigarette and soon they light up and carry on with their conversation. The orange glowing tips of their cigarettes dance around like a pair of fireflies and the muffled animated discussion continues. Dusk slowly turns to darkness.

It’s 11.45pm and the first train in our epic 24 hour observation will soon appear. We’ll start off at the south end of the station, opposite the Yard Box, on the Down side Platform 3 looking north.  From this spot we have a rather murky view of the distant North Box and, much like the station buildings, it is pleasantly illuminated in the darkness.  As mentioned previously the North Box marks the general spot where the Up and Down Main Lines are cambered and curve to the right before they enter a long straight section to Barrowby Road Box and then onwards to Peascliffe Tunnel.  At this time of night it’s actually fairly difficult to see much further north than the box itself and, apart from the twinkling lights from various signal posts, the darkness now obliterates almost everything else.

Walking the full length of Platform 3 and eventually standing somewhere near the North Box we can look back through the platforms to the south. There's a good view of both the Up and Down Main Lines and we can just about make out part of the Yard Box, near our starting point at the far end of the station on the the Up side. Turning to face the west we have the previously mentioned Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) in front of us and on the other side of that, the Western Platform (Platform 5). Beyond Platform 5 across the yard sits Grantham Shed (34F). The gloom hides most of the detail, but it is just possible to make out the outline of the coaling plant area with the intermittent tell-tale hiss and clank marking its position. The scene is now set for a busy night, so maybe time for a quick sip from our flask and, afterwards, a reminder to make sure that the top is screwed on properly!

Later on, in the daylight hours of this article, we will provide occasional photographs illustrating typical movements and workings. However try as we might, it's not too surprising that few were taken during those very early morning hours. So we leave it up to you our readers to immerse yourselves in the narrative and use your memories and imagination until the sun comes up.

11.48pm. As midnight draws closer we have some activity on the Main Line with a Kings Cross (34A) B1 approaching from the south with a Class D Freight (666) bound for Hull.  We'll actually see this locomotive again tomorrow evening, when it returns with a Class C Fish (581) at about 6.42pm.  In the distance the B1 pulls off the main line into the Down Goods Loop situated to the western side of the station. This movement is to pick up water and then await clearance to carry on. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover until 11.57pm.

11.52 pm. Minutes later we hear the familiar 3 cylinder beat of a V2 (50A) on a southbound Freight (259) designated Class C Blue Spot Fish. The V2 soon comes into view around the northern curve and gradually slows to a crawl through the station. This train originated in Aberdeen and is bound for King's Cross Goods.  Just past the Yard Box the V2 leaves the Up Main Line to sit in the Up Slow Line. The V2 will take on water here and possibly change crew. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 12.10am

11.57 pm. Over in the Down Goods Loop, the B1 that came in at 11.48pm with a northbound Class D Freight (666) now gets the road and re-joins the Down Main Line. It passes the front side of the North Box and steams off into the night on its way to Hull.

Midnight -

12.02 am. The sound of the Hull bound B1 on (666) has faded and by now it’s probably nearing Peascliffe Tunnel.  In the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) an L1 2-6-4 Tank loco arrives with a passenger train from Derby (1817). It’s been a lengthy journey for the few people on board, as the L1 had left Derby nearly two hours earlier at 10.10pm.

12.05 am. Another V2 (56B) hauled Class C Freight (1343) approaches from the north and swiftly passes through the station. Having left Leeds at 8.05pm its destination is King’s Cross Goods. On other occasions Pacific types have also been noted on this train.

12.05 am. As the V2 heads south, from the other direction we have our first sighting of a Parcels train (3N10) arriving from King’s Cross. It will pause here at Grantham before continuing on its journey north to York.  Tonight it’s yet another V2 (56B), but 9Fs and Pacifics have also been noted on this train. The Parcels train pulls up in the Western Platform (Platform 5) and it will now be a very busy time for those loading and unloading, but at least the crew will have a welcome break. The 1961 summer WTT provides a long stopover at Grantham until 12.42am.

12.06 am. With the V2 hauled Parcels train safely off the main line and now gently simmering in platform 5, the first overnight diesel hauled sleeper train (1A70) which left King’s Cross at 10.15pm, comes into view from the south.  This time it’s an EE Type 4 Diesel (52A) nowadays known as Class 40s, but the newly introduced EE Type 5 Diesels 'Deltics' (34G) have also been noted on this service. The EE Type 4 Diesel hurries by northwards and those passengers on board who have retired for the night are blissfully unaware of our 24 hour observation.  When they arrive in Aberdeen, at 9.23am, we will probably be heading for Grantham’s Refreshment Room for another ‘top up of supplies’ to help us through the rest of the morning session to come.

12.10 am. A distant shrill whistle from the Up Slow Line to the far south side of the Yard Box, tells us that the V2 that came in with the southbound Freight - Class C Blue Spot Fish (259) at 11.52am is now starting to move off.

12.13 am. The three cylinder beat of the V2 begins to fade into the night. As it does the sound of another train approaching from the south penetrates the darkness. Having left New England at 11.15pm, a WD with a rather noisy set of Class F empties (1258) has come under the Great North Road Bridge and clanks through the station before taking the Nottingham Branch to Colwick. It leaves behind a wonderful mixed aroma of burning coal, smoke and oil. On other nights a K3 has been used on this train, with both types allocated to Colwick (40E).

12.18 am. From the north a short blast from a diesel’s horn is carried on the night air. The increasing throb of another EE Type 4 Diesel (52A) heralds the approach of the 7.25pm passenger train from Newcastle (1258) which is due to arrive at King’s Cross at 2.52am.  Coming into the station there's a squeal of brakes and the train slowly grinds to a halt right next to the Yard Box, further down Platform 2. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 12.27am.

12.22 am. The EE Type 4 Diesel continues to tick over, its crew waiting patiently for the off, but they still have a further five minutes before they can get away.  In the other direction an A1 (36A) hauled Class C Freight (1226) clatters by on the Down Main Line, briefly obscuring the coaches occupying the Up Main Line. This train left King’s Cross Goods at 9.15pm and it’s destined to arrive in Sheffield before dawn.

12.27 am. At last, after a nine minute stop it’s time for the EE Type 4 Diesel that came in at 12.18am from Newcastle (1258) to finally get underway from Platform 2. It’s bound for King’s Cross and assuming that the trip goes to plan it will arrive there at 2.52am. A whistle from the guard on the platform, followed by a toot of the diesel’s horn very soon sees the last few coaches passing our position as the train gathers speed.

12.29 am. Two minutes later another EE Type 4 Diesel, this time with an Edinburgh bound Sleeper / Travelling Post Office (1A72) comes into the station from the south and stops nearby on Platform 3. The Type 4 rumbles away, accompanied by the characteristic ‘whistle’ associated with the class.  Having departed from King’s Cross at 10.30pm it’s due in Edinburgh at 6.51am. The recorded observations shown below indicate that steam occasionally still works this train, with both A4s and A1s having previously been noted. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 12.37am.

Recorded observations of steam locomotives on the above working (1A72) are listed below:-

On 16th June 1961 this was hauled by A4 No 60017 'Silver Fox' (34A) with an engine change to A3 No 60054 'Prince of Wales'

On 2nd July 1961 this was hauled by A1 No 60157 'Great Eastern' (36A) with an engine change to A3 No 60112 'St Simon'

On 8th July 1961 this was hauled by A4 No 60029 'Woodcock' (34A) with an engine change to an unrecorded A3 (34F)

12.31 am. The next train due through Grantham had left Aberdeen many hours earlier. If we are to get a glimpse of it we need to move quickly and get right to the north end of platform 3 and ahead of the EE Type 4 Diesel standing here with the Edinburgh bound sleeper / TPO.  Here it is! It’s an A1 (50A) hauled Class C Freight - Meat (261). There’s a long steady blast from the A1’s whistle as it rounds the curve and slowly passes through the station laying down a lovely trail of smoke. A second blast of the whistle sees the A1 heading off into the night on its way to King’s Cross Goods. As well as A1s, EE Type 4 Diesels (50A) have also been observed on this working.

12.37 am. It’s soon time for the EE Type 4 Diesel on our platform (3) with the Edinburgh bound Sleeper / TPO (1A72) to depart. As the last coach drifts by we continue to watch the red tail light until it is out of sight.

12.42 am. In the Western Platform (Platform 5) the Parcels train hauled by the V2 that arrived at 12.05am (3N10) is now ready to depart for York.  Safely back on the Main Line the V2 moves north around the curve, heading for Peascliffe and Barkston Junction. We continue to watch its progress until it disappears from view.

12.45 am. Maybe we can still just about hear the V2 heading away, but a few minutes later one of Grantham’s O2s appears from the north and slowly clanks through the station. The loco is hauling a Class F Freight (4627) which had previously set off from Lincoln Holmes Yard at 10.50pm.  The O2 now diverts off the Up Main Line on to the Up Slow Line at the Yard Box, carrying on towards the South Box. The train will soon be shunted back in to the Up Sidings and then sorted by the Up Side Pilot later in the morning.  Having left its train in the Sidings the O2 will then wait to come out on to the Up Slow Line when it is clear and wait for a path to cross over to the Down Goods Loop. Finally it will move down to the North Box before heading to the Loco Shed.

12.49 am. Silence, at least for a few minutes, but then the unmistakable sound of a WD (36C) pulling a Class F iron stone train (1026) from Highdyke to Frodingham, interrupts our thoughts. The WD only left Highdyke at 12.37am so it’s made good progress. On other nights O2s based at Grantham have also been seen in charge of this train.

12.54 am. Our first hour on Grantham's platforms have been very busy and there is no let up as a Northbound passenger train (1N01) now arrives. It's headed by an A4 (34A) that left King's Cross at 10.45pm and it will pause here for 8 minutes before setting off for Leeds and Bradford.  Most of the train will terminate at Leeds but a small section will proceed the short distance to Bradford. The 1961 Summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 1.02am. 

12.57 am. Having left Niddrie, near Edinburgh at 6.05pm, from the north another EE Type 4 Diesel rumbles through the station with a Class C Freight (275) bound for King’s Cross Goods.

1.00am -

1.02 am. There's movement at the north end of Platform 3 as the A4 (34A) that's been standing there since 12.54am with (1N01) now sets off for Leeds and Bradford. The A4 soon melts into the night, it's position only marked by the sound of its exhaust and the orange glow from the cab. Picking up speed the rest of the train soon clears the platform.

1.09 am. Blimey, we’ve had time for a sip of tea and a digestive biscuit, but it's not long before a 9F (34E) steadily approaches from the south with a Class D Freight (1016).  Having left King’s Cross at 9.45pm this train is due at Doncaster Belmont in a few hours’ time at around 3.50am. The 9F pulls off the Down Main Line into the Down Goods Loop to pick up water and then await clearance to move on. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 1.40am.

1.15 am. Six minutes later a Pacific (56B) hauled passenger train (1E18) appears from the north and stops in Platform 2.  A portion of this train originated in Bradford at 9.38pm and connected with the main portion at Leeds at 10.06pm. Having now stopped in the station, a few staff members are busy unloading parcels. This train is due at King’s Cross at 3.58am. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed) The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 1.25am. 

1.17 am. It's getting a bit chilly now and a slight breeze has sprung up. Minutes after the Pacific on (1E18) has come to halt in Platform 2 we pick up the sound of yet another EE Type 4 Diesel (55H) growling in from the south with an overnight Sleeper train (1A76). This train left King’s Cross at 11.20pm and, assuming that there are no delays, it will arrive in Edinburgh at 7.16am. The pungent exhaust lingers for a while but is soon dispersed by the gentle breeze.

1.25 am. Since the passage of the northbound EE Type 4 Diesel hauled Sleeper (1A76) train at 1.17am, a relative silence has descended on the station. The time has come for the Pacific that arrived at 1.15am from Bradford and Leeds (1E18) to finally get underway from platform 2 and continue the rest of the trip to King’s Cross, It will get there at 3.58am. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed).

1.27 am. With the sound of the Pacific on (1E18) having disappeared into the night, we log a B1 hauled Class D Freight (715) coming in from the north. It drifts through the station before diverting to the Up Slow Line at the Yard Box to pick up water.  This train left Sheffield at 11.30pm and is heading for King’s Cross Goods.  On some early mornings such as this, a Brush Type 2 Diesel has been noted on this train. On those occasions the stopover would not be required. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 2.00am.

1.32 am. It’s now time for the 'Night Scotsman' (1A78) headed by another EE Type 4 Diesel (55H) to hurry through the station on its way north to Edinburgh. The 'Night Scotsman' left King’s Cross at 11.35pm and will hopefully get its sleeping passengers to Edinburgh at 7.26am.

1.40 am. The 9F (34E) that has been standing in the Down Goods Loop, after coming in from King’s Cross at 1.09am with a Class D Freight (1016) now steams away with Doncaster Belmont as its final destination.

1.43 am. A few minutes pass by and we see another 9F (36A) appearing from the north before rattling through the station on its way to King’s Cross Goods. The 9F is heading the Class C 'King’s Cross Freighter' (551) which left Park Lane Sidings near Gateshead at 7.25pm the previous evening.

1.58 am. For some fifteen minutes the station has fallen silent again. The earlier breeze has subsided and there's a stillness in the air. The silence is interrupted by the familiar sound of a V2 approaching from the south and it's been making use of the 5 mile falling gradient from Stoke Summit.  The V2 (56B) is tonight in charge of a Class C Freight (534) which left Ferme Park, Hornsey, north London at 11.35pm and is bound for Niddrie, near Edinburgh. In no time at all the V2 flashes by and heads north around the curve.

2.00am -

2.00 am. The V2 can still be heard powering its way north towards Peascliffe, but this is soon replaced by the sound of the B1 (41A) now moving off southwards with the Class D Freight (715) after earlier being switched to the Up Slow Line at 1.27am. The B1 is on its way to King’s Cross Goods.

2.00 am. More or less at the same time our attention is drawn towards a WD (40E) coming into view from the Nottingham branch with a Class D Freight (4515) and now moving into the Goods Loop situated on the west side of the station.  This train left Colwick at 1.25am and is timed to arrive at New England at 3.40am. On some mornings K3s have also been noted for this turn. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 2.32 am.

2.06 am. The brief sound of an A4’s chime whistle from the south announces the approach of the northbound 'Tynesider' (1A82). After stopping in Platform 3, there will be an engine change from here.  This train includes sleeping cars and it left King’s Cross at 11.55pm last night and is due in Newcastle later this morning, at 6.50am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 2.14 am.

2.14 am. With the engine change now complete and following an exchange of whistles between the guard and the engine crew, the A4 heading the northbound 'Tynesider' (1A82) gets underway.

2.15 am. As the last coach of the Down 'Tynesider' disappears around the curve, in the other direction another A4 drifts into the station with the Up 'Tynesider' (1A57). This train again includes sleeping cars and left Newcastle at 10.45pm, arriving at King’s Cross at 4.27am.  Again, there’s another engine change involved. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 2.21am.

2.21 am. There's been a busy six minutes at the south end of Platform 2, but with the engine change for this train now complete the southbound 'Tynesider' (1A57) once again gets underway for the rest of the journey to King's Cross.

2.29 am. Approaching the the station from the south a WD (40E) soon crosses over from the Down Main Line to the Down Goods Loop with a Class F Empties (1010). This train left New England at 1.12am.  It passes through the Down Goods Loop and moves onto the Nottingham Branch to continue the trip to Colwick. On other nights a K3 (40E) has sometimes been recorded with this working.

2.32 am. With the WD heading for Barrowby Road Box it's closely followed by a V2 on the Down Main Line.  This time it’s a Newspaper & Parcels service (3E14) that set off from Smithfield, London at 11pm and is due to arrive at Doncaster at 3.40am. The V2 clatters through the station and heads away northwards into the darkness.

2.32 am. We've just remembered that there's still another WD in the Goods Loop. It came in at 2.00am from Colwick with a Class D Freight (4515) and now it too moves off again to continue the journey to New England, arriving there at 3.40am.

2.38 am. Six minutes later from the north, yet another WD (36C) noisily scurries through the station with a Class F Empties (3311).  This train left Frodingham in Scunthorpe at 9.55pm the previous evening and will get to Highdyke at 2.59am. A Grantham (34F) O2 is also often used on this working.

2.43 am. Five minutes have gone by and we spot an A3 (34A) hauled Class C Freight (555) coming in from the north. The A3 left Dringhouses, York at 11.45pm and quickly passes through the station and heads south for the trip to King’s Cross Goods.

2.45 am. The A3 (34A) is now well on its way to Ponton, which lies some three miles south of Grantham. One of Grantham’s O2s (34F) is working Light Engine (1036) to Highdyke. It's timed to get there at 3.05am.  A WD (36C) occasionally makes an appearance on this trip.

2.46 am. The O2 clanks off into the distance and next up a K3, having just come in along the Nottingham Branch with a Class H Mineral Freight (4323) joins the Up Main Line before diverting on to the Up Slow Line.  This is the 1.45am Colwick to New England and its due there at 4.15am. Other nights have seen WDs, B1s and O4s on this train. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 3.00am.

2.51 am. Turning our attention away from the K3, we pick up the sound of an A3 (52B) working a Class C Freight (1357) from Ardsley (10.35pm) to Ferme Park in Hornsey London. Seconds later it hurries past on the Up Main Line. V2s are often seen on this service.

2.57 am. It's not long before another Sleeper service (1A02) with an A4 (34A) in charge, dashes through northbound. The A4 left King’s Cross at 12.55am and is on the way to Newcastle.

2.58 am. Just a minute later a second A4 (52A) appears with a passenger train (1A61) from Newcastle, having departed there at 10.25pm. The A4, which is due to arrive at King's Cross at 5.12am, pulls up at the Yard Box on Platform 2. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 3.06am.

2.58 am. At the same time a B1 is arriving from the south with a Class D Freight (1012) from New England, having left there at 2.10am.  It soon diverts off towards the west side of the station to await clearance to move and continue the journey to Mottram near Manchester. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 3.17am.

3.00am -

3.00 am. Over in Down Goods Yard, which is between the Goods Loop and the Loco, a Class D Freight (1006) joins the Goods Loop to begin its journey to Colwick. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed).

3.06 am. At the Yard Box the A4 that came in at 2.58am with the Newcastle to King’s Cross train (1A61) has been waiting patiently for a full eight minutes, but now it's time for it to leave Grantham behind and head south.

3.09 am. With the A4 now three minutes into its journey south to King's Cross, another A4 comes in from the north with a passenger train (1A63) and stops in the vacant space on Platform 2, right next to the Yard Box.  This train left Newcastle at 11.35pm and is due to get to King’s Cross eleven minutes later than the previous A4 on (1A61), arriving there at 5.23am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 3.17am.

3.11 am. Just two minutes later, from the south an A3 (52B) on a Down passenger train (1A04) whisks through the station. This train left King’s Cross at 1.15am and is due to arrive at York at 5.14am.

3.17 am. The B1 on the Class D Freight (1012) that arrived at 2.58am from New England has been waiting in the west side of the station for several minutes now. Slowly and surely the B1 finally moves off for Mottram, near Manchester.

3.17 am. At the same time a whistle from platform 2 on the Up Main Line means that the London bound passenger train (1A63) headed by the A4 is now ready to go. After an exchange of whistles the locomotive soon finds its feet and disappears southwards.

3.21 am. We’re just over three hours into our 24-hour stint and the night sky is beginning to lighten.  Heading for King’s Cross, an A3 hauled overnight sleeper (1A65) comes into platform 2.  Although it sports a nice billowing exhaust, there's been a steady application of the brakes as it approached the station from the north, ensuring that (hopefully) the sleeping passengers are not disturbed.  This train left Edinburgh some seven hours earlier at 8.05pm. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 3.29am.        

3.29 am. The A3 that came in on the Up overnight sleeper (1A65) now departs south from Platform 2.

3.30 am.  Following the departure of the A3 a 9F (34E) steams in from the North with a Class C Freight.  The 9F is on the way to Peterborough, having left Doncaster Decoy at 1.42 am, and is due at New England at 4.10 am.

3.31 am. An O2 (34F) with a Class J Freight (1290) sets off from the west side of the station for Lincoln.

3.31 am. Time for a Light Engine movement (1170). Another of Grantham’s O2s moves off for the short trip south to Highdyke, arriving there at 3.45am.

3.32 am. With the O2 (1170) out of the way a northbound Parcels service (3N13) has arrived in the Western Platform (Platform 5). This train left King’s Cross at 10.55pm and once the busy loading and unloading tasks have been completed it will get on its way again. This Parcels service is bound for York and is timed to arrive there at 6.52am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 3.53am.        

3.40 am. A quiet spell, but we are soon alert again after a warning whistle from the north. It signals the approach of an A4 (34A) heading a passenger train (1A67) to King’s Cross. In seconds it has passed through and is now heading south. This train left Perth at 7.43pm the previous evening.

3.50 am. The sound of another EE Type 4 Diesel is picked up as it brings another passenger train (1A69) into Platform 2 from the north. This train left Newcastle at 12.40am and will arrive at King’s Cross at 6.10am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 3.56am.         

3.53 am. The Parcels train (3N13) that came in at 3.28am has been sitting in the Western Platform (Platform 5) for some twenty five minutes, but finally it's time for it to depart for York, where it will arrive at 6.52am.

3.56 am. A few minutes later the EE Type 4 Diesel hauled passenger train (1A69) that came into Platform 2 from Newcastle, also sets off for King’s Cross and is due there at 6.10am.

3.59 am. From the south a WD (36C) on a Class J ironstone train (1036) makes good use of the falling gradient as it passes through the station and disturbs a couple of roosting pigeons.  This train left Highdyke at 3.46am and is bound for Frodingham. Grantham’s O2s (34F) are also often in charge on this run.

4.00am -

4.04 am. A V2 on a Parcels train (3E03) that had left York at 12.54am comes in from the north and diverts into the Up Slow Line just past the Yard Box. It’s due at Peterborough at 6.04am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 5.10am.        

4.05 am. From the south another WD (34E) comes into view with a Class H Freight (1142). The pigeons have not returned so we assume that they found a much quieter spot? This train left New England at 2.35am and is on its way to Worksop.

4.13 am. From the north an EE Type 4 Diesel (55H) passes through with 'The Night Scotsman' (1A71).  This train left Edinburgh at 10.30pm and is due at King’s Cross at 6.26am. As is evident from the recorded observations shown below, A4 Pacific steam power could sometimes still seen on this train.

A selection of recorded observations showing locomotives identified as working on the above service 'The Night Scotsman' (1A71) are listed below:-

On 26th July 1961 this was hauled by A4 No 60005 'Sir Charles Newton' (52A)

On 29th August 1961 this was hauled by A4 No 60026 'Miles Beevor' (34A)

On 3rd September 1961 this was hauled by A4 No 60010 'Dominion of Canada'

4.14 am. A minute later another northbound Class H Freight (1250) clatters through the station. This train left New England at 2.55am and is on its way to Doncaster Decoy. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed).

4.36 am. After a relatively quiet period a northbound Class E Braked Freight (1074) approaches from the south and at the South Box diverts into the Down Goods Loop for water.  This train left New England at 3.33am and is due at Doncaster Belmont at 7.40am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 5.02am.

4.44 am. Eight minutes later another EE Type 4 Diesel on a southbound passenger train (1A73) hurries through the station. This train had left Edinburgh at 11.05pm and will arrive at King’s Cross at 6.47am. Again, as is evident from the recorded observations shown below, A4 Pacific steam power could sometimes still seen on this train.

A selection of recorded observations showing locomotives identified as working on the above service (1A73) are listed below:-

On 12th July 1961 this was hauled by A4 No 60017 'Silver Fox' (34A)

On 10th August 1961 this was hauled by A4 No 60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley'

On 1st September 1961 this was hauled by A4 No 60002 'Sir Murrough Wilson' (52A)

4.53 am. The next train to appear from the south is an O2 (34F) hauling a northbound Class H ironstone train (1170). Again, it's making good use of the falling gradient and soon disappears around the curve. The O2 left Highdyke at 4.39am and is on its way to Frodingham.

4.53 am. A Pacific hauled passenger train (1A75) from Aberdeen arrives in Platform 2.  The overall journey time for this train is around nine hours, but it's on the last leg now and it will arrive at King’s Cross at 7.17am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 4.59am. 

4.59 am. After a six minute stop at the Yard Box it’s now time for the Pacific on (1A75) to leave for King’s Cross. The usual guard's whistle and the engine's response tells us that the train is at last on the move.

5.02 am. The Class E Braked Freight (1074) that came in at 4.36am comes off the Up Goods Loop to rejoin the Main Line at the North Box and gets underway again for the journey to Doncaster Belmont.

5.00am -

5.04 am. Two minutes later an A4 (34A) hauled passenger train that includes a few parcels / newspaper vans (1C49) arrives from the south. Having left King’s Cross at 2.00am this train will terminate here and will be reversed into the Carriage Sidings on the Down Side at the south end of the station. The A4 will then move to the Loco Shed. Later this morning the A4 will return to King's Cross on the 8.35am (1B04).

5.06 am. Another O2 (34F) comes round the curve from the north with a Class F Empties (1037). This train left Rotherham Greasebrough Road at 10pm and will arrive at Highdyke at 5.24am.

5.10 am. The V2 that came in at 4.04am on a Parcels train (3E03) now sets off from the Up Slow Line for the journey to Peterborough, arriving there at 6.04am.

5.17 am. From the north a WD (36C) on a Class F Empties (1277) drifts through the station. Grantham based O2s also handle this train from time to time. The Empties left Frodingham at 11.40pm the previous night and will get to Highdyke at 5.36am.

5.20 am. With the WD well on its way to Highdyke an EE Type 4 Diesel (50A) on a Class C Freight (268) comes into view through the Great North Road Bridge from the south and is approaching the station at speed.  This train has travelled from King’s Cross Goods and left there at 2.50am. Its destination is Niddrie, Edinburgh.

5.27 am. The sound of a dog barking somewhere near one of the houses on Station Road is drowned out by another EE Type 4 Diesel (52A) heading south with 'The Aberdonian' (1A77) passenger train. which left Aberdeen at 8.21pm and is due at King’s Cross at 7.30am.

5.31 am. With 'The Aberdonian' safely out of the way, the next train coming off the Nottingham Branch and crossing over onto the Up Main Line is a WD (40E) heading a Class H Mineral Freight (4337).  The WD left Colwick at 4.30am and is on its way to New England where it will arrive at 6.54am. K3s have also been noted on this working.

5.45 am. Nearly a quarter of an hour gone by since the last train, so that's provided some time to check through our notes and refresh ourselves with a drink from the flask and a quick bite of the remaining sandwich. A sandwich which incidentally still looks remarkably fresher than we maybe do to those passengers boarding a DMU over in the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1).  However, it’s soon back to our observations as a B1 (36C) arrives with a Class E Braked Freight (1285). This train left Retford at 3.40am and is due at New England at 7.08am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 6.10am.       

5.50 am. It's our first sighting of a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) class 114 (2 car) as it noisily sets off from the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) with a Grantham to Boston service (766).

5.54 am. An O2 (34F) and a brake van - Highdyke No 1 Pilot (1079) now heads for Highdyke with Grantham personnel to work the branch. It will arrive at 6.12am.

5.55 am. A minute later a Freight - Empties (1390) which left New England at 4.52am, passes through northwards on its way to Doncaster Decoy, where it will arrive at 7.28am. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed).

6.00am -

6.01 am. A WD (36C) on a Class H Cripples Freight (1034) heads north through the station. This train left New England at 4.22am and it's on the way to Ranskill, near Retford. The stop - start nature of the journey, during which it will be picking up wagons for repair, means that it will not arrive until 9.10am.

6.05 am. Now heading south through the station, a K3 (40E) has brought a Class H Freight (4355) off the Nottingham Branch and onto the Up Main Line. WDs are also common on this train. It’s started from Nottingham London Road at 4.25am and is due at New England at 7.36am.   

6.10 am. The B1 (36C) that came in at 5.45am with the Class E Braked Freight (1285) now departs for New England and it will arrive there at 7.08am.

6.12 am. Another Light Engine movement (1272). This time it’s an O2 (34F) coming in from Highdyke after leaving there at 6.00am.

6.15 am. Three minutes later we see another O2 (34F) leaving for the south and conveying a Class H Freight - Highdyke Pilot No 2 (1085). It will arrive at Highdyke at 6.51am.

6.16 am. In the Western Platform (Platform 5) an L1 arrives with a local train (2415). This service is the first incoming train from Nottingham. Having left at 5.30am it will terminate here. The engine is detached and will soon move over to the Loco Shed for servicing and turning before joining up with its train again. The stock will be moved to the Nottingham Bay by the station pilot, in readiness for the L1’s return journey on (882) at 7.17am.

6.19 am. From the south a Pacific hauled passenger train (1N02) comes into Platform 3 and gradually slows for a stop. This train left King’s Cross at 4.00am and is heading for Leeds. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 6.29am.

6.20 am. The Pacific at the head of the Leeds train (1N02) has come to a halt in Platform 2 on the Down Main Line.  Meanwhile a B1 (34F) in charge of a Parcels train (944) moves off from the Western Platform (Platform 5) and after joining the Down Main Line it heads north for the trip to Boston.

6.26 am. A V2 drifts into the station from the north with a passenger train (1E38) and stops next to the Yard Box.  This train left Glasgow at 10.00pm and is due at Colchester at 10.59am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 6.35am.       

6.29 am. It’s now time for the Pacific (1N02) standing the north end of the station on Platform 3 to also get underway and continue the journey to Leeds.

6.34 am. In the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) the L1 which had come in at 6.16am with (2415) has re-joined its stock and now departs, heading up the Nottingham line, this time with a train for Derby (768). The L1 and its crew are Grantham based. Sometimes B1s work this train and as such, if any of these trains came in hauled by a B1 (tender loco) then the usual procedure would be for the B1 to go on shed for turning and the replenishment of coal and water. The crews would then have a break before returning. Explanation: These diagrams were put together this way so that Grantham men returned with the last train from Derby and Colwick men took the last train to Nottingham from Grantham at the end of the day. Most crews would get a break when they arrived at Grantham.

6.35 am. The V2 that came in at 6.26am with a passenger train (1E38) gets underway for the remainder of its journey. There will be an engine change at Peterborough after which the train will continue on with the journey to Colchester, arriving there at 10.59am. We think this train was referred to as 'The Colly' by Grantham's staff as it was often used by service personnel.


Table 2: We will now move on to our second observational period that falls between 6.00am to lunchtime. We have about seven minutes to have a drink of tea from our flask, which will soon need refilling.  At this time of the year dawn comes very early and the first of many local passenger services through Grantham have commenced. The frequent services to Nottingham Victoria and Derby Friargate are still mostly steam hauled. The lines to the east of Grantham, connecting the town to a large proportion of Lincolnshire, have Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) on most services covering Lincoln, Sleaford, Boston and Skegness. All of these trains provide suburban and rural commuters with important connections to the main line passenger trains calling at Grantham.

The first day time 'named' express will appear at 08.26am and it's the Up 'Master Cutler' from Sheffield Victoria to Kings Cross. This is a short diesel hauled train of just six coaches. Four of the coaches in the set are of the modern Mark 1 'Pullman' design, which had recently been introduced on all of the Pullman Expresses running on the ECML. The older Pullman Brakes, of 1928 vintage, are retained at each end of the train.

The following hours will also bring a regular flow of loose coupled mineral and ironstone trains which are interspersed with several high profile main line express passenger trains. In the 'Up' southbound direction 'The West Riding' will come into view at 9.18am and at 10.19am we will see 'The Tees Thames' followed by 'The Yorkshire Pullman'.

In the other direction, heading north on the 'Down' line we will see 'The West Riding' at 9.38am, 'The Talisman' at 09.53am, 'The White Rose' at 10.51am, the non - stop 'Elizabethan' at 11.17am and 'The Flying Scotsman' at 11.51am.

Another train of note to look out for is 'The Anglo Scottish Car Carrier' which has benefited from the introduction of double deck vehicles manufactured by Newton Chambers.  There's also a Glasgow to Colchester service and a Joppa (near Edinburgh) to Hornsey train consisting of empty coaching stock (ECS). These ECS trains could often be very long and sometimes made up of around twenty vehicles.

TABLE 2 

The morning and early afternoon period. This section covers 6.42am to 12.42pm

As mentioned earlier, the next movement will take place in about seven minutes, so after our drink we will have enough time to cross over to the 'Up' side of the station. As we reach our new vantage point a whistle from the west side of the station announces the imminent departure of one of Grantham’s O2s with (1058) G EBV, meaning a light engine and extra Brake Vans.

6.42 am. The O2 (34F) with (1058) now heads south on its way to Highdyke where it will arrive at 6.58am.

6.49 am. From the north a V2 brings a Parcels train (3E05) into Platform 2 and diverts off the Up Main Line to the Up Slow Line after the Yard Box.  This train left Newcastle at 12.16am and is due at King’s Cross at 11.02am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 7.08am.

6.55 am. Six minutes later a passenger train (770) departs from the Western Platform (Platform 5) for the journey to Newark. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed).

7.00 am -

7.05 am. Coming around the curve from the north another one of Grantham’s O2s passes through the station on its way south. It's hauling a Class F Freight - empties (1183) from Frodingham, having left there at 1.40am. This train will arrive at Highdyke at 7.24am. On other mornings this has been hauled by a WD (36C).

7.08 am. The V2 that came in at 6.49am now moves off with the Parcels train (3E05). It leaves the Up Slow Line and re-joins the Up Main Line to continue the journey to King’s Cross, arriving there at 11.02am.

A typical scene on Platform 3 as station staff busily carry on with their next job in hand. Photograph by Cedric Clayson

7.11 am. From the south an EE Type 4 Diesel (52A) approaches with another Parcels train (3N08) and pulls up in Platform 3. This train left King’s Cross at 5.00am and is heading for York. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 7.17am.

7.14 am. An L1 now arrives in the Western Platform (Platform 5) with a passenger train (2417) from Derby, having left there at 5.35am.

7.17 am. The EE Type 4 Diesel train that came in at 7.11am with the Parcels train (3N08) sets off from Platform 3 for the journey to York, arriving there at 9.23am.

7.17 am. Coming in from the north a DMU, which left Lincoln at 6.40am (1911) coasts into the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1).

7.17 am. The L1 that came in earlier on the 06.16am (2415) from Nottingham now departs from the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) with a passenger train (882) bound for Derby.

7.21 am. Having left New England at 6.08am and now on its way to Colwick, a K3 (40E) is approaching from the south with a Class F empties (1084). New England WDs have also been noted with this train.

7.23 am. Over in the Western Platform (Platform 5) one of Grantham’s A3s (34F) sets off with a passenger train (1B02) bound for King’s Cross. The A3 will return on The Down 'Northumbrian' (1A28) later this afternoon.  This train is made up of stock from the 6.36am Derby and the coaches from the carriage sidings brought in at 5.04am

7.25 am. The A3 on (1B02) has joined the Up Main Line and is now heading south. With the crossover from the Western Platform (Platform 5) clear and having set off at 4.00am, a 9F (36A) rumbles through the station from the south with a Class C Freight (1060) from Ferme Park, Hornsey. It’s due at Doncaster Belmont later this morning.

7.33 am. Another DMU departs from the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) with a local service (772) for Lincoln.

7.41 am. A Class K Pick Up Freight (1052) moves off from the Down Goods Loop on its way to Doncaster Belmont. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed).

*Although taken a few years before our 24 hour observations (1959) this is a typical scene in the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) It shows a K2 No 61742 preparing to leave for Nottingham.

7.45 am. In the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) an L1 departs with a local passenger train (774) bound for Nottingham. On other mornings both B1 and K3 locomotives have been seen on this service.

7.46 am. A minute later from the north an O2 (Retford Crew) with a Class H Freight (1153) passes through the station on its way to New England. This train left Worksop at 5.40am and will get to New England at 9.08am.

7.50 am. Four minutes later an L1 (40E) draws into the Western Platform (P 5) with a local train from Nottingham (2419) having left there at 7.00am. On other mornings B1 and K3 locomotives have been seen on this service.

WD No 90189 rolls into Grantham from the south with a typical ironstone working from Highdyke. Photograph by Cedric Clayson

7.55 am. From the south a WD (36C) hauls a Class H Freight (ironstone) train (1058) from Highdyke.  Having left Highdyke at 7.44am it’s on its way to Frodingham. Grantham’s O2s are often seen on this train too.

8.00 am -

8.03 am. Eight minutes later a K3 (40E) also approaches from the south with a Class F Freight - empties (1084) from New England.  This train, having left New England at 6.50am is on its way to Colwick. WDs (40E) are also sometimes seen in charge.

8.10 am. Very soon a 9F (34E) with another freight, a Class C Freight - bricks (528) comes into view from the south. The 9F left Yaxley / New England and left there at 7.10am. It’s due in York Down Yard at 10.50am.

8.26 am. We've had plenty of time to visit the Refreshment Room on Platform 2, have a nice breakfast of sorts, top up our flask and replenish our supplies etc. Actually there’s not been much activity on the Up Main Line for around forty minutes now, so the sight of an EE Type 4 Diesel (34G) with the Up 'Master Cutler' (1B20) livens things up a little. This train had left Sheffield Victoria at 7.20am and will get to King’s Cross at 10.05am.

8.35 am. Almost ten minutes later the A4 (34A) that came in earlier at 5.04am on (1C49) and having also been replenished (but not in the Refreshment Room) leaves Grantham's Platform 2 with a passenger train (1B04) bound for London.  It will arrive at King’s Cross at 10.50am. A Grantham loco (34F) has sometimes worked this train if a problem was found on the usual 34A locomotive.

8.39 am. With the A4 heading south with (1B04) the familiar sound of a V2 (34E) is heard and it now comes into view around the curve from the north. It’s on a Class H Freight (1081) that left Doncaster at 4.26am and it should get to New England at 9.58am.  Just after the Yard Box the V2 takes its train onto the Up Slow Line in order to provide clear passage for the next train through.

8.40 am. With the V2 now safely off the Up Main Line, another EE Type 5 (34G) brings a Non-Stop Empty Coaching Stock train (3E06) through the station.  This train left Joppa near Edinburgh at 12.42am and will arrive at Hornsey in north London at 12.35pm.

8.48 am. From the south a Class D Freight (710) appears. This train left New England at 7.58am and is on its way to York Down Yard where it will arrive at 12 noon. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed).

8.55 am. Leaving Boston at 7.55am a DMU on a local train (1919) comes to a halt in the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1).

9.00 am -  

9.05 am. There's been a nice ten minute interval and time for another sip of hot fresh tea. Just as the lid is being placed back on the flask here's a rather nice surprise! It's Class H Freight (1159) being hauled by a Scottish Pacific heading by from the north on a running in turn.  Having left Doncaster Decoy at 6.16am it's due to arrive at New England at 11.13am.

9.08 am. Over in the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) a DMU makes a rather noisy departure with a local Nottingham service (776).

9.14 am. From the south an A4 (34A) approaches with a passenger train (1C40). Having left King’s Cross at 5.55am this train will terminate here.

9.17 am. It's over to the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) again and another DMU comes into the Bay with a train from Derby (2431).  Having left Derby at 7.15am it's been an early rise for those who boarded the train there.

9.18 am. From the north an A1 (36A) with 'The West Riding' (1E02) dashes through the station. The Bradford portion left at 7.06am and joined the train at Leeds in time for the main portion calling at Leeds at 7.30am.  It's due to arrive at King’s Cross at 11.06am. The A1 will return later this afternoon on 1N19 at 3.23pm.

9.26 am. Another DMU with a local passenger service (1921) arrives in the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) having left Lincoln at 8.49am.

9.32 am. Looking to the south we spot a WD (40E) on a Class F Freight empties (1022) approaching the station. The WD soon takes its train into the Down Goods Loop and gradually comes to a halt. The WD left New England at 8.15am and will pause to await a path to Colwick.  On other days a K3 (40E) has also been noted hauling this train. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 9.50am.

9.35 am. With the WD in the Down Goods Loop, we pick up the sound of another train coming in from the north. It's an A1 (36A) on a passenger train (1A01) which left York 7.43am.  It too will pause here before setting off again for King’s Cross where it is due to arrive at 11.35am.  The A1 will return later this afternoon on 1A36 at 4.09pm. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 9.38am.

9.38 am. – The stock next to us on Platform 2 now begins to move by as the A1 (36A) departs with (1A01) bound for King’s Cross.

9.38 am. As the last coach drifts by we are just in time to get a glimpse of the 'The West Riding' (1N03) as it tears through the station on its way north. It's headed by an A1 (56C) and left King's Cross at 8.00am and is on its way to Leeds with a portion for Bradford. On other days an A3 (56C) has also been noted in charge of this train.

9.41 am. Behind us in the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) a DMU service has arrived from Skegness (784). Those getting off look as if they have had a really good week of nice weather following their holiday at the coast.

9.45 am. Over the tracks in the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) a K3 (40E) which a few minutes before had been coupled up to its train (792) gets ready to depart for Nottingham. On other days B1s and L1s have been observed on this service

9.47 am. From the north an A1 (36A / 56C) comes in with a passenger train (1E04). The Bradford portion left at 7.18am and then joined the main portion at Leeds in time for departure from at Leeds at 7.52am.  It's now bound for King’s Cross and will arrive at 11.47am.  The A1 will return this afternoon on 1N21 at 5.31pm. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 9.50am.

9.50 am. – The WD that came in with the Class F empties (1022) at 9.32am now departs from the Down Goods Loop for the journey along the Nottingham Branch to Colwick.

9.50 am. The A1 that came in at 9.47am with 1E04 leaves for King’s Cross, arriving there at 11.47am. *This photograph shows a typical departure for the south past the Yard Box on Platform 2.

9.53 am. From the south an EE Type 4 Diesel hurries 'The Talisman' (1A06) through the station. This train left King’s Cross at 8.10am and is on its way to Edinburgh. On other days a Pacific (52A) has been noted on this train.

9.53 am. As 'The Talisman' races by and heads north around the curve, a K3 (40E) which has been waiting for the WD with the Class F empties (1022) to clear the branch, now arrives with a Class E Braked Freight (4399) and passes through the western side of the station on its way to New England.  This train left Colwick at 9.00am and will arrive at New England at 11.05am. On other days a WD (40E) has been seen on this train.

10.00 am -

10.12 am. There's been a lengthy period of inactivity on the railway, nearly twenty minutes, but now from the south another EE Type 4 Diesel (52A) approaches with 'The Anglo Scottish Car Carrier' (1A08) which is bound for Edinburgh. It stops right opposite our current position on Platform 3 and the diesel grumbles away waiting for the off. This train left Holloway at 7.55am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 10.14am.

10.14 am. The grumbling and rumbling sound from the EE Type 4 Diesel in charge of (1A08) now increases as it slowly moves forward. Gradually gathering speed, it slips out of the station on its way north to Edinburgh.

10.19 am. With 'The Anglo Scottish Car Carrier' (1A08) well on its way, just five minutes later yet another EE Type 4 Diesel (50A) sounding a lot happier, hauls 'The Tees Thames' (1A03) quickly southbound through the station on its way to King’s Cross, arriving there at 12.20pm.  This train left Saltburn near Middlesbrough at 7.05am. The EE Type 4 Diesel will return on (660) later tonight at 11.12pm.

10.23 am. Over on the Western Platform (Platform 4) an L1 (40E) arrives with a passenger train (2441) which had left Nottingham at 9.30am. On other days both B1s and K3s have been spotted working this train.

10.25 am. In the Down Goods Loop one of Grantham’s O2s (34F) moves off light engine but coupled to a brake van (4449). Our view of it is partly obscured by the L1 and its train but once it gets past the North Box we get a better view as it takes the Nottingham Branch to Belvoir, situated between Grantham and Bottesford, Notts.

10.30 am. A light engine comes in from the north. It's a B1 (34F) (944) from Boston and having passed through the station, it will then 'negotiate a path' towards the shed area. This engine had earlier hauled the 6.20am parcels train (944) from Grantham to Boston. Footnote: The B1's movements varied from day to day and therefore requires an explanation. The path taken depended very much on what was happening in and around the station at the time. Sometimes the B1 would pass through the station along Platform 2 on the Up Main Line to move beyond the Yard Box to the crossover. It would then come back along the Down Main Line through Platform 3 to the North Box and on to the Nottingham Branch before moving on to Grantham Loco. Another option would involve the B1 undertaking the same movement as above, but then at the south end of the station it would cross over to the Western Platform (Platform 5) or sometimes the Carriage Sidings if the Western Platform was occupied. One other variation, having once passed through the station on the Up Main Line, would mean taking the Up Main or Up Slow Line from the Yard Box to the South Box crossover and then taking the Down Goods Loop to the North Box and thence on to Grantham Loco. 

10.30 am.  As the B1 heads towards the shed area an A3 (34F) pulls up in platform 3 hiding our view of the B1's progress. The A3 is on a train bound for Hull (1N62). It left King’s Cross at 8.24am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 10.34am.

10.34 am.  A whistle from Platform 3 means it's now time for the A3 to head off for this train's (1N62) final destination, Hull. We continue to watch the last few coaches disappear into the distance knowing that we have a full ten minutes to spare before the next movement. So of course it's time for a quick drink and half a KitKat, or maybe all of it!

10.44 am. More activity from the north as a K3 approaches with a Class D Freight (7635) which left Sheffield at 8.40am slowly moves by on the Up Main Line on its way to New England where it is due to arrive at 11.26am. B1's have also been spotted on this train.

10.44 am. With the K3 on the Class D Freight safely through the station our attention moves to the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) where a DMU, which has been idling away for some time, sets off with a local passenger service (798) for Lincoln. The DMU will branch off the main line at Barkston South Junction before taking the very pleasant Lincoln line at Honington.

10.46 am. Two minutes later, from the south a WD (40E) arrives with a Class F empties (1100). Having left New England at 9.28am the WD now crosses over from the Down Main Line at the South Box and enters the western side Goods Loop. It will stop there for about 30 minutes before continuing its journey to Colwick.  On other mornings K3s (40E) have also worked this train. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 11.15am.

10.51 am. Some 5 minutes later we get our first glimpse of one of the recently introduced EE Type 5s (34G). More commonly known as 'Deltics' the powerful locomotive bears down on us at great speed from the south. It's hauling 'The White Rose' (1N06) which left King's Cross at 9.0am and is on its way to Leeds and Bradford. The locomotive's distinctive engine sound ebbs and flows as it gets ever closer. Maybe time for us to step back a few feet?  A short blast from the horn and in seconds it roars past us and as it does the engine tone seems to dip in that soon to be familiar characteristic doppler effect whine. The Deltic and 'The White Rose' have soon gone and we are left with just turbulence. This locomotive will appear again this afternoon on 1E29 at 2.47pm. From here on we will refer to these EE Type 5 Diesel locomotives as 'Deltics' during our 24 hour observation.

10.55 am. The 'The White Rose' is now well on its way towards Newark. From the north some four minutes later a passenger train that left Sunderland at 7.38am passes through the station on its way to King's Cross, arriving there at 1.10pm. (The locomotive type is still to be confirmed).

11.00 am -  

11.00 am. Over in the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) an L1 (40E) departs with a passenger train (786) bound for Derby.  On other mornings B1s and K3s have also been noted on this service.

11.02 am. The next train to pass left Frodingham at 5.38am and it's now coming in from the north. We can see that it's a WD (36C) on a Class F empties (3289). At the Yard Box it will take the Up Slow Line and will be held there to allow any following Up trains to pass.  The WD is due to arrive at Highdyke at 11.20am. Grantham's O2s (34F) are also often seen with this train.

11.03 am. With the WD standing on the Up slow Line, from the south an A3 (34A) comes into view with 'The Norseman' (1A10*). *This train only works on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and leaves King's Cross at 9.00am. It's shown here to help provide an overall picture of workings at this time. Arrival at Newcastle Tyne Commission Quay is 2.59pm.

11.06 am. Carried on the air from the north the sound of Napier engines working hard are soon accompanied by a short warning blast from the diesel's horn. This will be our second sighting this morning of a Deltic (52A). It dashes through the station with a train from Newcastle (1A09) having left there at 7.56am, with a portion originating in Hull at 8.47am being attached at Doncaster. It will arrive at King's Cross at 1.10pm and return later on (1A46), 'The Talisman' 

11.11 am. Having left Nottingham at 10.25am a DMU slows to a halt in the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) with a local service (2447).

11.13 am. From the north an A3 arrives in Platform 2 with a train from Sunderland (1A11*) having left there at 7.38am it's due at King's Cross at 1.10pm. *This train actually only runs on Tuesday's and Thursday's but is included here for completeness* The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 11.19am.

11.15 am. Over in the Down Goods Loop the WD that came in at 10.46am with the Class F empties (1100) for Colwick is heard moving off and soon we get a nice broadside view as it slowly heads away along the Nottingham Branch.

11.17 am. Knowing that the northbound (Down) 'Elizabethan' (1A12) which left King's Cross at 9.30am for its long journey to Edinburgh is due soon, we have moved a little further north along the platform and now stand opposite the North Box. We are just in time! From the south we hear the familiar sound of an A4's chime whistle. The A4 (34A / 64B) has eased off a little through the station, as it prepares to take the curve. The coaches on Platform 2 are still blocking a clear view of events, but finally in a flash we get a quick glimpse of the A4. It whistles again and heads around the curve. We continue to watch until the last coach is out of sight.

11.19 am. It's time for the A3 standing at the Yard Box with (1A11)* to depart for King’s Cross.  A whistle on the platform and the train soon gets underway for the journey south. *This train actually only runs on Tuesday's and Thursday's but is included here for completeness*

11.21 am. Having left Lincoln at 10.41am a DMU now coasts into the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) from the north with a local service (1931).

A4 No 60033 'Seagull' comes into Grantham station from the south with an Express from King's Cross. Copyright Mel Smith / TTG Archive

11.24 am. Not too long after, another A4 (34A) approaches from the south with a passenger train (1A14) which left King’s Cross at 10.00am.  The A4 is on its way to Newcastle and slows through the station before stopping just short of the North Box. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 11.30am.

11.28 am. From the north a King's Cross bound North Eastern based A1 comes in with a passenger train (1A13).  Having left Sunderland at 7.53am it slows through the station before stopping near the Yard Box. There's an engine change here and an A3 (34F) will take the train south from Grantham. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 11.33am.

For eagle eyed spotters - This photograph actually shows A4 No 60028 Walter K Whigham heading away from Platform 3 on 30th September 1961. Copyright Mel Smith / TTG Archive

11.30 am. Over on Platform 3 the A4 (34A) now sets off for Newcastle with (1A14).

11.33 am. A few minutes later on Platform 2, the A3 (34F) having now changed over from the North Eastern based A1 gets underway with (1A13).

11.35 am. Over in the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) a DMU sets off with a local service (880) this time for Boston.

The sound of the departing DMU now heading for Boston soon recedes. Meanwhile down at the south end of Platform 3 a period of relative calm descends. Photograph by Cedric Clayson

11.36 am.

Photograph by Cedric Clayson

11.51 am. It’s been pretty quiet for the last quarter of an hour. We've even had time to enjoy an ice cream from the vendor at the south end of Platform 3!  Soon the spell is broken by the sight and sound of an EE Type 4 Diesel (52A) approaching from the south with 'The Flying Scotsman' (1A16). This train left King’s Cross at 9.40am and is due in Edinburgh at 5.11pm.

11.54 am. From the north an A3 (34A) passes through the station with a passenger train (1E06). This train originated in Halifax at 9.07am.  The main portion called at Leeds at 10.00am and is now on its way to King’s Cross, arriving there at 1.49pm. The A3 came off (1N24) the previous day.

11.54 am. With the A3 on (1E06) rapidly disappearing southwards there's more activity in the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) as another DMU local service (802) moves off on its way to Lincoln.

11.57 am. In the Nottingham Bay (Platform 4) an L1 (40E) departs with a passenger train (830) bound for Derby. B1s and K3s have also been noted on this train.

12.00 Noon -  

12.10 pm. In the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) there's another DMU arriving from Skegness (1933) having left there at 10.14am.

12.14 pm. Over on the Western Platform (Platform 5) an L1 (40E) is arriving with a passenger train (2453) which left Derby at 10.30am. B1s and K3s have also been noted at the head of this train.

12.16 pm. A warning blast of the horn and we can see that it's an EE Type 4 Diesel (34G). The locomotives rushes by along Platform 2 with 'The Tees Tyne Pullman' (1A15) which had left Newcastle at 9.25am.

In seconds it has cleared the station and is now heading south on the way to King’s Cross where it will arrive at 2.04pm.

12.20 pm. A few minutes of note taking, but not long after an A1 (56C) comes in from the south and stops at the north end of Platform 3 with a passenger train (1N10). With portions bound for Leeds, Bradford, Ripon and Hull, this train left King’s Cross at 10.20am. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 12.25pm.

V2 No 60854 with a typical Class C Freight passes through Grantham from the north.

12.24 pm. It's getting a little busy again and from the north a V2 (34A) rattles by with the Class C Freight 'Scotch Goods' (273). The V2 left Inverkeithing, some dozen miles north west of Edinburgh at 1.00am and is on its way to King’s Cross Goods.

12.25 pm. – The A1 (56C) that came in at 12.20pm on 1N10 now departs from Platform 3 for the north.

12.29 pm With the V2 hauled 'Scotch Goods' (273) now probably approaching Stoke Tunnel, from the north an A2 (50A) slows with 'The Norseman' (1A17)* which runs on a Wednesday and Thursday Only. *It's included here for completeness*.  Having passed our position the A2 eventually comes to a halt at the Yard Box.  This train left Newcastle Tyne Commission Quay at 8.35am and is due at King’s Cross at 2.21pm. On other days an A3 (50A) has also been noted on this train. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 12.31pm.

12.30 pm. From the south a WD (40E) approaches with a Class E Braked Freight (1098). Having left New England at 6.50am it's on its way to Colwick and will move into the west side of the station. On other days a K3 (40E) has also been noted on this train. The 1961 summer WTT provides a stopover at Grantham until 2.22pm.

12.31 pm. Down at the Yard Box and after the usual exchange of whistles between the guard and the engine crew, the A2 (50A) that came in at 12.29pm with 'The Norseman' (1A17) now moves off to the south.

12.33 pm. Behind us in the Lincoln Bay (Platform 1) another DMU leaves with a local service (806) bound for Lincoln.

12.35 pm. Coming in from the north we spot a 9F hauled Class C Freight of Presflo Cement Empties (253). The train departed Leith at 02.05 am with The 9F coming on to the train at York. The eventual destination will be Grays in Essex. On other days a V2 has been noted on this train.

12.42 pm. Again, another train from the North. It's an A1 (56C) running by with 'The Yorkshire Pullman' (1E08). It originated from Harrogate at 10.00am, joining at Leeds with a small portion from Bradford (10.15am) and then on to Doncaster where it  connected with another short section from Hull (10.33am) before travelling south to King's Cross.

Forward to 24 Hours at Grantham Station in 1961: part 2, noon to midnight

Back to 24 Hours at Grantham Station in 1961: introduction


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