An Introduction by John Clayson
Roy was brought up near Boston and began his working life as a locomotive cleaner at Grantham ‘Loco’ in August 1957.
I left Horncastle Grammar School in 1957, by that time living in a village 5 miles north of there, a place called Belchford where my mother kept the shop/post office. There was a farming family there where I spent a lot of time. By chance in 1956 they moved to a farm near Stoke Rochford, 5 miles south of Grantham, and they offered to let me live with them on leaving school and work on the railway at Grantham – which, of course, was an amazing offer I could not refuse…
About a year later Roy ‘passed out’ and became a passed cleaner, qualified (and paid) to undertake firing turns when required, though still employed on the cleaner grade while waiting for a vacancy as a fireman.
In December 1958, at the age of seventeen, Roy was sent on loan to King’s Cross ‘Top Shed’ for two years where he quickly gained a wealth of firing experience. In 1963, during the last few months of Grantham shed’s life, he was promoted to fireman.
Roy writes regularly on internet forums such as the LNER Forum and RMweb about his time on the railway, at Grantham and in London, between 1957 and 1963. Sometimes this is in response to queries from researchers or modellers, but often it's in discussion with other railwaymen of the period, sharing stories and memories of colleagues over the web. His signature, ‘ROY@34F’, refers to the shed code of Grantham Loco, which changed from 35B to 34F in March 1958. Each locomotive based at Grantham between 1958 and 1963 carried an oval ‘34F’ cast iron plate on its smokebox door.
Roy has very kindly encouraged us to gather his many ‘snippets’ into some pages on our website. This compilation draws together notes and paragraphs which have appeared over a period of time.
Here Roy sums up and looks back on his six years working on the railway as a young man:
I left the railway in December ’63, just after Grantham Loco closed - and boy did I miss it. It gets in your blood I think. Mind you, I did ok the rest of my life but I often wonder... and I can't forget the good old days on the footplate.
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