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Above: A1 No 60158 simmers in the sunshine before departing from Grantham with an express passenger train bound for London King's Cross. This locomotive first entered service on 17th November 1949 and as can be seen in this 1950 photograph it has yet to receive its nameplates. The name chosen was 'Aberdonian' but the ceremony did not take place until early 1951. Initially allocated to King's Cross, No 60158 had two spells at Grantham (35B). The first allocation was between 9th September 1951 and 7th June 1953, before returning to Grantham again on 2nd May 1954 to 6th June 1957. No 60158 was withdrawn on 26th December 1964 and finally scrapped early the following year.
From the Tracks through Grantham photograph archive (see below)

Hello all,

A very Happy New Year and all the best to everyone for 2022!

Below is an update on our activity during the last few months of 2021.  We hope everyone will find something new and of interest.

First, though, we’d like to thank everyone who attended our get-together at the Grantham Railway Club on Wednesday 13th October, our first since October 2019.  There were over 40 people and we especially welcome everyone who joined us for the first time. Our friends at the Club pulled out all the stops to ensure that all appropriate guidance was followed so that everyone could feel comfortable in the room.  Our special thanks go to Richard Cumming for his presentation Steam on the Elizabethan 1953–1961, several times delayed but certainly well worth waiting for.

Our next gathering is planned for April 2022 – provisionally on Wednesday 20th April.  Confirmation of the date and the programme will be circulated late in February or early in March.

We’re sorry not to have published our bi-annual Newsletter during 2021.  As with many things, the Covid situation has upset normal routines and it’s not been possible to bring everything together, but we do hope to start again with another issue next summer.


1. Some New Pages on our website

Signalling and Signal Boxes

Rob Clipsham remembers a unique experience - travelling from Highdyke to Skillington Road Crossing in 1973 while standing in the tender of the preserved locomotive Pendennis Castle:

Railway People and Places

Other recent additions are aimed at developing the Tracks through Grantham sub-theme Railway People and Places.  Grantham is a town where the railway has been influential in many ways, and we’re glad to demonstrate this by illustrating connections that may not always be immediately apparent:

Trade Unions, Social Life and Sport

Railway Festivals and The Railway Queen

The Grantham High Speed Accident of September 1906: the passenger casualties

On the morning of Sunday 21st November I visited Grantham cemetery to look for the grave of Georgiana Baguley, the only victim of the accident who was buried in Grantham.  It wasn’t too hard to identify because it was repaired and cleaned in 2006 to mark the centenary of the disaster:

How did the town’s emergency services cope when an express train was wrecked and ablaze on an embankment near the station at 11pm at the end of what had, until then, been just another ordinary day?  We discovered a write-up in a respected weekly medical journal describing hospital’s response:


2. Some Updated Pages

The following pages have benefitted thanks to new photographs becoming available:

  • Turntables and Triangles we’ve added a photograph from the M.L. Boakes Collection of class A2/3 No. 60515 Sun Stream on the 70-foot turntable in the late 1940s
  • Sam Pearce there’s now a photo of the south apex of the turning triangle, which was opposite Sam’s house on Springfield Road.  It has evoked more memories of his grandparents from Chris Pearce.

3. Some recent magazine articles

Steam World

The editor, Chris Leigh, has featured more selections of colour photographs taken by Noel Ingram on the East Coast Main Line in the early 1960s, mainly south of Stoke summit:

November 2021 (Issue 413):

  • Front and rear cover photos on the main line, plus pages 4 and 5 on the Woolsthorpe Branch.
  • across the top of pages 46 and 47 there's a shot of Grantham's A3 No. 60046 Diamond Jubilee departing from Leeds in August 1961.

December 2021 (Issue 414):

  • page 3
  • pages 54-55: Christmas Pick ’N’ Mix - scenes in the snow, January 1963

Steam Days, January 2022

Beginning on page 40: Travelling from Walsall to Grantham: 1958-62 by Mike Page


4. A recently published book

A Pictorial History of the B12s by Richard Anderson and Dennis Greeno includes many photographs of the former Great Eastern section locomotives which were based at Grantham in the 1950s.  They were used on local services on lines radiating from the town, covering the period between the withdrawal of many 4-4-0s and 4-4-2s of GNR origin and the introduction of diesel multiple units (see, for example, the photograph below).  The section ‘From Grantham’ is on pages 126 to 135.  Published by The Midland and Great Northern (M&GN) Joint Railway Society, price £23.25.


5. For the future

24 hours at Grantham station in 1961

We're continuing to gather information for an upcoming article that will describe events at Grantham station over a 24-hour period. This is set against the background of the Summer 1961 Working Time Table. We hope that the new page will be published early in 2022, so if you have any memories, spotting notes, or even photographs from 1961 there's still time to contribute. Of particular interest is information relating to the practice of engine changes during this period.

Tracks through Grantham Photographic Archive

On another front we have now created and continue to add to a 'Tracks through Grantham Photographic Archive'. This is to ensure that we always have a sufficient library of suitable Grantham related images to call on when needed for future articles.  If you have anything that you think could be included in our archive, no matter how insignificant it might seem to be, again please do contact us.

We leave you with two images selected from the archive, one below and another at the head of this post.

It's springtime in 1953 and here we have a lovely pastoral scene out in the countryside north of Grantham, with B12 No 61541 working tender first and having just left Peascliffe Tunnel with an assorted rake of coaching stock. The cows in the adjacent field are probably used to the passing trains and continue to graze unperturbed. No 61541 was introduced in 1920 and spent most of its working life at Stratford before being allocated to Grantham (35B) in November 1949. The locomotive stayed at Grantham until withdrawal in January 1957.

6. Keep In Touch

Something for everyone, we hope.  We’ll look forward to receiving your comments and feedback either via the Comment Form which appears at the bottom of most pages or, for more general feedback, use the Contact Form form on this page.

(Comments are responses to the content of a page or to previous comments on that page.  If approved,  a comment may be published and become part of the page.  On the other hand messages left using the Contact Form are direct communications to the Tracks through Grantham team, and they will not normally appear on the site.)

Best wishes,

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.

Our next get-together for people interested in Tracks through Grantham takes place in Grantham in mid-October.  These events are an opportunity to meet for a few hours to enjoy a varied and, we hope, enjoyable and informative programme.  Our meetings are usually held twice a year but, inevitably, they have been 'on hold'.  The last was nearly two years back, in October 2019.

If you are already on our list of email and postal contacts you should recently have received the programme and invitation.  Please remember to let us know if you hope to be with us.

If you're interested in attending but have not received a programme please get in touch, using the Contact Form here, and we will send you information - date, time, venue and programme.  We don't publish these details on the website because we and our host venue need to know how many people to expect.

We are currently working on a new article for the TTG Website that will specifically  focus on the 1961 Summer Working Time Table (12th June to 10th September 1961). Lots of information has come to light during our research, but we are now actively seeking details relating to Grantham 34F Locomotive Diagrams for the A3 Pacifics at this time. Another avenue of our research covers the engine changes on express passenger trains at Grantham during the same period, so if you can assist with any of the above please do let us know.

Thanks - The TTG Team

Two recent issues of Steam World have items which might interest Tracks though Grantham subscribers:

August 2021 (Issue 410):

  • pages 24 to 27 is a four page photo feature titled Through Noel's Lens: Freight on the ECML.  It's a selection of seven colour photographs by Noel Ingram, prolific recorder in the early 1960s of traffic on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham and Peterborough.
  • across the top of pages 46 and 47 there's a shot of Grantham's A3 No. 60046 Diamond Jubilee departing from Leeds in August 1961.

September 2021 (Issue 411):

  • at the bottom of page 26 there's a letter from David Rollins in Australia who recalls being fireman on a V2-hauled Up fitted freight which came to a halt near Saltersford with a broken side rod in May 1959.  He describes how the incident was dealt with.
  • pages 48 and 49 are a further two-page spread of Noel Ingram's colour photographs, this time five pictures of A4 Pacifics on passenger traffic titled Through Noel's Lens: 'Streaking' the ECML.

Friend of Tracks through Grantham Chris Leigh has recently resumed the role of editor of Steam World.  We wish him well and hope that a sprinkling of Grantham-related content can be maintained.

John Clayson

 

2

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

2

When it comes to Grantham's association with the railway, Tracks through Grantham is one of many sources available.   We aim to signpost other people's work recording and presenting the railway history of the town so, for example, there are lists of books, articles in magazines etc. here.

On the Internet, the saying 'other websites are also available' is as true for Grantham railway interest as it is for soap powder or chocolate bars, and below are links to pages which have appeared on the Grantham Matters website over the past six months since the beginning of November. 

There isn't much information with some of the photos, so we've done some research and added notes.  Most of the photos can be seen much more clearly by using your browser's 'zoom' function to magnify the page.

Two fascinating old photographs of work on the line, dated 1921

  • The top picture appears to be the removal of weathered and degraded stone from the east side of Great Ponton Cutting, between Great Ponton station and Highdyke.  When the cutting here was widened on that side for the new Up Goods line, in about 1875, it's likely that its side was left as a steep rock face.  We got in touch with Richard Cumming who says,  'The top layers of Lincolnshire Limestone (which this is) are very weathered, i.e. loose and open, compared with the thicker solid seams down below.  As a result they are prone to the actions of frost and rain.  I think the men are dealing with a landslip, or a potential landslip, and have been removing all loose material from the side of the cutting leaving the rough, exposed uneven face of more solid material seen in the photo.'
    The words on the side of the wagon are G N BALLAST WAGON NORTH DISTRICT.
    Here and here are links to two later photos which show the same site – perhaps just a few yards further south - after the cutting sides had been graded back.
  • We are sure that the lower picture is in the same locality.  There was a bridge here, shown on maps dated c.1904, and it would be numbered Overbridge 232 in the civil engineer's records.  The maps also show signal posts in the same locations; these would be starting signals for Great Ponton box, Up Main and Up Goods.

Running out of rails on one of the Ironstone Quarry Lines

The Ambergate Yard branch railway bridge over Dysart Road being removed

Station Master Harold Scampion in his best uniform welcomes a VIP to the station

  • This photograph is captioned 'Future Prime Minister Anthony Eden entering Grantham station in 1951'.
    The Grantham Journal reports Anthony Eden passing through the station on Tuesday 10th April 1951 to catch the 9.30am to London, having attended an event at Nottingham the previous evening.
    Eden is on the right; on the left is Harold Scampion, Grantham Station Master from 1947 to 1963; in the centre is Stanley Hodgkins, Grantham Division Conservative party agent.  In the background is the now long-gone Station Inspector's house, No. 9 Station Road.
    At this time Eden was in opposition, but he had held important government posts during the 1930s and 1940s including twice being Foreign Secretary, to which post he would again be appointed, in October 1951, in the post-war Churchill government.  Anthony Eden succeeded Winston Churchill as Prime Minister from April 1955 until January 1957.

Not specifically railway, but can you see the route of the main line and the High Dyke branch?

An odd piece of track...

A crowded platform

  • Waiting for the Flying Scotsman Pullman on a Sunday, either 6th or 13th March 1983.

A crowded lineside!

  • What the folk on the platform were waiting for.  The top photo was at Stoke tunnel, not Peascliffe.

Barrowby Road bridge and signal box

A photo of the old Ambergate line terminus

We hope everyone's keeping well.  This update will keep you up to speed with the most recent news on the Tracks through Grantham front as we wait for warmer, longer days and the prospect of some kind of normality returning.


New and Updated Website Pages

New Pages:

  • the Grantham Railway Disaster of 19th September 1906 had calamitous consequences for the Robertson family as they travelled home to Scotland.  There's a new page about how the fateful journey unfolded and its dreadful outcome here.

An Updated Page:

About halfway down the above page we have a report from the front page of The Grantham Journal of 17th July 1942 about the retirement of one of the signalmen:

Arthur Chalkley retires, 32 years a South Box Signalman

The report outlines Arthur's very active working and home life, leading us to ponder "What wouldn't we give to have an opportunity to talk to men like Arthur Chalkley, born in Great Ponton, railway signalman, NUR local branch secretary, Town Councillor, and much more besides."

Thanks to 'Google' the page was discovered recently by one of Arthur Chalkley's granddaughters.  She has been in touch and sent us a wonderful family photograph which we have added beneath the newspaper report.

Further research has revealed that Rosamond Chalkley, Arthur's wife, was also active in local circles and in the mid-1930s she was president of the Grantham Branch of the NUR Women’s Guild (for the wives and daughters of railwaymen).  We hope to have more in future.


A New Page in Preparation

On another front, our quest to encourage former Grantham spotters to tell us about their personal stories of visits to the station and other local railway locations has resulted in another set of nostalgic memories being passed over to us.  This time Phil Wilson has sent over some of his notes and photographs that were taken by himself in and around the Grantham area during the early 1960s.  These notes are currently being pieced together in readiness for a new article that will appear in ‘Spotters' Corner’ so please do look out for it.

Here's a taster...

A3 No. 60062 'Minoru' stationary on the Up Slow line near Springfield Road Bridge with southbound parcels at 6.14pm on Saturday 16th May 1964. This was one of six ex-Grantham A3s which had been transferred to New England shed at Peterborough in September 1963.
Photograph taken by Phil Wilson.
Phil's notes made at Grantham on Saturday 16th May 1964, beginning nearly half-way down the left column. In addition to No. 60062 two of the other five New England A3s made appearances on the day: No. 60112 'St. Simon' at 10.50am and No. 60054 'Prince of Wales' at 6.24pm.

If you have not already done so, make sure you get an early personal notification from us when it is published, by subscribing.  It’s free and very easy to do from the Contact Us or Subscribe page.


LNER and BR(E) Staff Magazines

A few years ago, as part of our ongoing research, we purchased two very useful DVDs from the Great Eastern Railway Society.  The first DVD covers The LNER Magazine from 1927 to 1947, with the second one covering The British Railways (Eastern Region) Magazine from 1948 to 1963. These magazines contain an absolute wealth of information and after many months of painstaking work going through the numerous pages, we have now managed to extract all references to people and incidents that have a connection with Grantham.  This also includes the other local stations that are situated within the boundaries of our Tracks through Grantham territory. To hopefully aid future research when developing new pages for the website, this information has been successfully transferred to a comprehensive searchable spreadsheet.


Grantham Station Buildings in Commercial Use

Various rooms in Grantham's station buildings are being used for commercial purposes these days. 

Back in April 2016 the former First Class Waiting Room was converted into an estate agent’s office.  It's been out of use again for a while, but there's currently a move to change it into a café .

The Whistle Stop micro pub opened in the old Parcels Office in November 2019.  Currently it's closed on account of government restrictions, but we gather they hope to reopen their 'Platform Beer Garden' on 12th April.

Perhaps more unused areas of the station will find new roles in the future.


A Recent Magazine Article

If you've seen Steam World Issue 405, March 2021, you may have seen that there's some local interest:

  • the cover photo is of Grantham's A3 No. 60056 Centenary at York in 1959;
  • on pages 24-29 there's a feature by Nigel Harris titled Around Stoke Bank...   It's a selection of black and white photos from the late 1950s and the mid-1960s, all taken by Philip Wells at a variety of locations between Essendine and Grantham.

Something you may be able to do for us...

While using the website, if you notice anything that needs putting right (such as a link that no longer goes to its intended destination, or something that's inaccurate or out-of-date) please send us a note.  The site has become so extensive that we aren't able to carry out 'housekeeping checks' on every page as regularly as we used to.  More pairs of eyes will be very welcome.  Please use either the Leave a Reply form, which appears on most pages, or the Contact Form on this page.


With best wishes to everyone as we hopefully all 'spring forward',

John Clayson and Mel Smith

Above: We couldn't resist this seasonal picture.  Grantham driver Jim Ledger and fireman Benny Kirk were on the footplate of No. 2551 Prince Palatine on Monday 9th March 1931 setting out from London King's Cross.  See below under A Grantham Crew’s Miraculous Escape.
(From The LNER Magazine, with acknowledgement to the LNER as publisher and with kind permission from the Great Eastern Railway Society. The Society has funded and organised the magazine's digitisation.  The digital copy can be ordered as a 2-DVD set here)

Hello all,

With most of us 'confined to barracks' there's never been a better time to extend and update the website!  There's a new page, and several pages have been improved and updated with more information and images.

Click on the titles for direct links.

A New Page

Some Men Who Saw It All: six Grantham drivers of the 1920s

In February 1930 The LNER Magazine published a photograph of six Grantham drivers who had retired during 1929.  The men were proudly posed together at a retirement presentation. 

It seemed to us that behind this photograph there are six stories of working life on the railway.  Potentially, the men's careers on the footplate might span a period from the 'Races to the North' of 1888 and 1895, conducted in relays using locomotives such as the GNR Stirling 'Singles',  to the non-stop Flying Scotsman introduced in 1928 between London and Edinburgh and made possible by the LNER Class A3 'Super Pacifics'.

Using accounts written by authors Harold Bonnett and Rev. Arthur Cawston, who became well acquainted with several of the men, and archives accessible to us on line in modern times, we think we've gained something of an insight into four decades or so of footplate work at Grantham, from the 1880s to the 1920s.

Revised Pages

Highdyke to Westborough in Fifty Pictures: photographs by Tom Boustead

This very popular page was launched in April 2020 as Highdyke to Hougham in Fifty Pictures, when it attracted a record number of appreciative comments.  Tom has worked with Steve Philpott to identify and scan more of his favourite photographs, extending the range north from Hougham to Westborough and featuring a wider variety of views.

Great Ponton Signal Box

Launched in August 2020, we have recently added information about two collisions inside Stoke Tunnel in the 1850s which led to Great Ponton station having a role in signalling through the tunnel.  Jim Chesney has kindly allowed the use of some splendid photographs from the 1930s, and the Saltersford Up main line auto signals receive an overdue write-up.

A Grantham Crew’s Miraculous Escape

Another find in The LNER Magazine is a great photograph of a Grantham crew's departure from King's Cross taken by a photographer from The Times on a snowy March morning in 1931.  The crew were driver Jim Ledger who happened to be a younger brother of Walter Ledger, one of the retiring drivers in the photograph noted above, and fireman Benny Kirk.

Thirty years later, in December 1961, Benny was the driver in charge of one of the trains involved in a disastrous multiple collision near Wood Walton.  We've added the 1931 photograph to our page about that collision, along with a recently discovered LNER circular of 1928 which demonstrates the enduring importance of the Aberdeen meat train which Benny Kirk was driving in 1961.

A quite co-incidental connection is that one of our retiring drivers of 1929, Joe Wright, was born at Wood Walton in 1864.


We always appreciate feedback, so we hope you'll dip further into the site from time to time and let us know what you think, using either the Leave a Reply section, which appears at the bottom of most pages, or our Contact Form.