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Barrowby Road Signal Box

Barrowby Road signal box was located ¾ mile north of Grantham station, where the double track line from Nottingham meets the East Coast Main Line.  Just south of the box all four tracks crossed Barrowby Road (the A52)  on a low bridge (which has long suffered from being struck by large road vehicles).

Looking north in the early 1960s, the Nottingham lines are on the left, the East Coast Main Line on the right. An express passenger train headed by Grantham-based class A3 locomotive No. 60105 'Victor Wild' passes on the Up Main line,

The box opened in May 1881.  For 56 years, until 1937, signalmen at Barrowby Road were responsible for signalling main line trains as well as those to and from the Nottingham direction.  Hence, as can be seen above, the box was built to face the more important traffic.  In October 1937 the main line signals here were removed, along with those at Peascliffe box a mile further north, when automatic colour light signalling of the section between Grantham North and Barkston South Junction signal boxes was commissioned to facilitate the higher speed capability of the latest streamlined expresses.

This is the 'Coronation' streamlined train from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley heading north out of Grantham and approaching Barrowby Road signal box with brand new class A4 No. 4491 'Commonwealth of Australia'. Departure time from King's Cross was at 4pm, with Grantham due to be passed at 5.27½. This could be the inaugural service of 5th July 1937, which was hauled by No. 4491.
On 17th October 1937 a new signalling installation was commissioned between Grantham North and Barkston South Junction which allowed the signals on the Main lines at Barrowby Road to be removed, including the tall home signal at the centre of this shot.
On the right are the Nottingham lines, and the branch to Ambergate Yard curves round beside the two tall telegraph poles.

After October 1937 the box controlled only the Nottingham lines, which involved the convergence of an Up Goods line from Gonerby and a junction for a long siding to Ambergate Yard, Grantham's original rail terminus from Nottingham, next to the canal basin.

A stopping passenger train from Nottingham to Grantham is about to pass Barrowby Road box in May 1953, hauled by class J6 No. 64213. The Up Goods line from Gonerby is on the right; it is about to join the line on which the train is approaching. There is a short so-called 'cripple siding' to the right of the water tower. This was provided so that any goods wagon which had become unfit to travel (for example, because of an overheating bearing - a 'hot box') could be shunted aside before reaching the main line
Photograph taken by John F. Clay; photo source: Graham Cloxton.
Class J52 No. 68877, built in 1905, returns to Grantham from Barrowby Road with traffic from the Ambergate Yard Branch in September 1955.  At Ambergate Yard there was a Bristowes Tarvia tar depot from which the tank wagon would be returning, empty, to a coal by-product plant, several coal merchants and the town's gas works.
Photograph taken by John F. Clay; photo source: Graham Cloxton.
The area around Barrowby Road signal box photographed from the air. Passing on the Up Main line is a restaurant car express hauled by a class A4 streamlined locomotive. The train's Kitchen Car, identified by its roof vents, is level with the signal box. The Nottingham line runs in at top left. The wagons at bottom left are standing on sidings alongside the line to Ambergate Yard.  The A52 is bridged at the tracks' narrowest point.

Track Diagram

Malcolm Rush visited Barrowby Road signal box on Wednesday 4th January 1967 to sketch the track diagram, take a photograph of the interior and make notes.    Malcolm's drawing, photograph and notes made at Barrowby Road, along with links to an exterior photograph and other information, can be seen here.  This was part of a wider project involving visits to record similar details at 184 signal boxes.

Barrowby Road signal box closed on Sunday 4th August 1968.  A more detailed history is being researched and written.  If you have information or photographs that would help us please get in touch.

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