by John Clayson
We arrived from Leicester with Dad's camera loaded with the fairly new (it was introduced in 1961)
35mm Kodachrome II colour slide film. With a film speed of only 25 ASA shots of fast expresses were generally to be avoided in favour of studies of stationary or slow-moving subjects…
The driver of a southbound train at platform 2 is checking that all is well with his class A1 express locomotive. He is probably replacing a cork plug in the oil chamber of the coupling rod attached to the leading coupled wheel's crankpin. Cast into one of the coupled wheel spokes is ‘Coltness 1947’, indicating that the cast steel wheel centre was made at that Lanarkshire steel plant. I haven't been able to identify the locomotive, but this may yet be possible because its number can be seen stamped into the metal of the combination lever (the near-vertical link on the right). However, at the current scanning resolution it cannot be made out. The locomotive might be fresh from repairs at Doncaster works and was being run in, although not a general overhaul because it doesn't appear to have received a repaint. By 1962 a bright, rust-free finish on the steel rods and links was difficult to maintain in normal service because the railway was running down the number of staff involved with the cleaning of its dwindling fleet of steam locomotives.
This scene is probably at the north end of platforms 3 and 4. I still have both Ian Allan ‘ABC’ locospotters' books. The briefcase was a promotional item given to Dad by a commercial traveller for Falcon and Coventry Eagle cycles.
At approximately 16:25 the Brush prototype diesel electric locomotive No. D0280 'Falcon' calls at Grantham with train 1B21, the 15:20 from Sheffield Victoria to London King’s Cross 'The Sheffield Pullman'. The man in the cab wearing white overalls is probably the manufacturer's technical representative. 'Falcon' was built by Brush Traction at Loughborough in 1961 with twin Maybach engines. At this time it was based at Sheffield Darnall (41A) motive power depot and was under test on a range of duties.
This is the leading compartment of the first carriage of the 'Sheffield Pullman' train seen in the previous photograph. The newspaper being read by the gent in the suit is 'The Star', Sheffield's evening newspaper. The page headline visible in this picture enabled Sheffield Local Studies Library to identify the edition as that of Thursday 12th July 1962, a crucial clue which allowed that date to be assigned to more than 30 photographs taken during this visit.
The world's fastest steam locomotive, No. 60022 'Mallard', calls at Grantham on a southbound train, possibly 1B11, the 16.28 from Doncaster to King's Cross, which was a regular duty for '22' in summer and autumn 1962. In a few minutes’ time it will pass the scene of its high speed dash of 24 years before, on 3rd July 1938. Today 'Mallard' is displayed at the National Railway Museum in York, where it is seen by hundreds of thousands of people every year. This picture shows the circular window provided in the back of the tender to illuminate a very narrow corridor used when locomotive crews were changed mid-way on non-stop runs between London and Edinburgh.
This shot shows a seldom recorded area of the passenger station, a passageway between platforms 3 and 5 (as then was; today they are platforms 2 and 4). On the left is, as I've since found out, one of the oldest of the station buildings then in existence, a wooden structure which housed the down side General Waiting Room. There was also an adjoining small room, originally a booking office but by this time it was the train announcers' room. On the right is the south end of a brick building, the down side refreshment room. Framed in the opening is the streamlined front of class ‘A4’ locomotive No. 60010 'Dominion of Canada' which has paused on the Up and Down Goods line with a northbound express freight train. In the early 1960s these prestige express locomotives of the 1930s were displaced from the fastest passenger trains on the East Coast Main Line by the ‘Deltic’ diesels. In 1963 No. 60010 was among several transferred to Scotland to work passenger expresses between Glasgow and Aberdeen for a few more years. 'Dominion of Canada' still exists, displayed at the Canadian National Railway Museum near Montreal. Beyond the A4, in the shed yard, is the smokebox of one of the numerous 'Austerity' type heavy freight locomotives and the side of a 'Peak' Type 4 diesel-electric loco. The posters on the left advertise the delights of Gorleston-on-Sea, Weymouth, Blackpool, St. Ives, Portrush and 'Holiday Camping Coaches' (old railway carriages converted to provide basic accommodation and stabled in sidings at wayside stations). Unfortunately this photograph suffers a little from camera shake, perhaps because of the longer exposure needed as light was fading late in the afternoon and the lens was 'stopped down' to maintain sufficient depth of field for the scene.
Sixty years and counting: Grantham station photographs on their diamond anniversary.
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