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Timothy Kidd’s Railway Films

Between 1956 and 1965 Timothy Kidd was vicar at St Anne’s Church in Grantham.  These clips are from cine film made on family visits to the lineside at Highdyke and Great Ponton.  They have been shared with us by Chris, Rev. Kidd’s younger son.

There is a short biography of Timothy Kidd on the Grantham Matters website here.

Film 1: At Highdyke, around 1962

Our viewpoint is on the east side of the main line, opposite the south end of Highdyke Sidings.  Trains travelling from right to left are ascending towards Stoke Summit.

The charming sequence features one of Timothy Kidd’s young daughters who waves enthusiastically as the trains pass by on a glorious summer’s day.

  • B1 No. 61093 is southbound with an express freight train.
  • An English Electric Type 4 diesel passes with a southbound express passenger service.
  • A1 No. 60135 Madge Wildfire speeds towards Grantham on an express passenger train.
  • An Austerity heavy freight locomotive crawls past up the gradient with a mineral train, perhaps gathering speed after being held at the junction for passenger trains to pass. The fireman has joined the driver on the left side of the footplate, looking back to see that the wagons pass safely over the points.
  • Another A1 races north.
  • Several lines of ironstone wagons, each with a brake van, are seen in the sidings as an A4-hauled express passenger train heads into Stoke Tunnel.  A plume of steam appears as the driver whistles a warning before entering the tunnel.

Film 2: At Great Ponton, around 1964

The viewpoint is on the west side of the line, behind Great Ponton signal box.  Chris's elder brother features in the shots.

  • A train of mineral wagons approaches up the gradient from Grantham.  It's travelling on the Main Line so there must have been a lull in fast southbound traffic, or it would have taken the goods line, on the right, as far as the junction at Highdyke.  Signalling experts may notice that when the Great Ponton signalman replaces his Up home signal to danger it is not followed immediately by the distant signal for Highdyke mounted below.  Please see Andy Overton's very helpful comment below where he explains the reason why the Up distant signal here responds in this delayed manner, rather than the near-immediate return to the 'On' position usually seen when such a signal is mechanically operated.
  • English Electric Type 4 No. D348 passes with train 1A42, the 15.00 departure from King’s Cross for Newcastle.

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3 thoughts on “Timothy Kidd’s Railway Films

  1. Andy Overton

    The reason why the Highdyke distant is slow to return to caution is because it is motor operated, not mechanically operated. There is no slot mechanism involved, clearance of the signal and operation of the motor is governed by electrical contacts operated by the stop signal above. These signal motors are equipped with a damping mechanism so the arms do not drop immediately and quickly back to the On position. This protects the motor mechanism from shock and damage. The motors may be positioned down the signal post to aid maintenance with connection to the arm by a conventional run of signal wire. The arm is held Off by a low current (less than that used to operate the motor to clear the signal) and when the stop arm drops so far towards the On position that the Off contacts are broken this current to the distant motor is interrupted. The motor operated arm then starts to return to the On position by gravity but the damping mechanism in the motor slows this down to a gradual return. The combination of the two factors involved in returning the signal On means that the stop arm is usually well back fully On before the distant arm starts to drop. If you see a signal arm returning On in this way it's a sure sign that it's motor operated (a check of the diagram for Highdyke from this era confirms this is the case here).

  2. kenneth wheatley

    The films brought some East Coast Main Line memories back. My wife and I both knew Tim Kidd from our time at Stoke Rochford (1971-74) , a dedicated and well respected member of staff. He once drove me over to Grafham Water to talk to a group of Sixth form students about teaching as a career. He never mentioned he was interested in railways - what a shame - we could have set up a Stoke Rochford Rail Appreciation Group!!

    1. TracksthroughGrantham1

      Thanks Ken. It's really nice to hear from someone who knew Tim, and I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed his film clips. Though short and a little 'fuzzy' they really do evoke the spirit of summer family outings to watch the trains go by.


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