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How we discovered Springfield Road Bridge

above: Springfield Road Bridge in 1934.  Trains speed past above while two buses cause a blockage below.  Photograph from the Grantham Matters website.

by Bob from Leicestershire

My love of the Gresley Pacifics and all things Eastern Region really started with a day trip to London with my parents in 1961, when I was eleven years old.  I was to be allowed 'a few minutes' to look around King's Cross station before we headed off to enjoy some of the sights of the city.  That two minutes became more than two hours as mam and dad gave up trying to drag me away!  Suffice to say their plans for the day were ruined!

This may be typical of the sights at King's Cross station that enthralled 11-year-old Bob on that day out in 1961.  In late April or early May 1962 Grantham-based A3 No. 60047 'Donovan' is in full forward gear, ready to set off with a northbound express.  Britannia No. 70038 'Robin Hood' of Immingham shed has just backed onto a Buffet Car express bound for Grimsby and Cleethorpes.
Photograph by Cedric Clayson.
At London King's Cross station A4 No. 60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley' prepares to depart from a platform end thronged with spotters, again in late April or early May 1962.
Photograph by Cedric Clayson

A year later I was invited to go on holiday to Mablethorpe with my best pal and his family in their car.  They were one of the few local families to own a vehicle and I had never been on more than a day trip before, so it was very exciting.

Our route from Leicester took us under the Springfield Road railway bridge which we knew was Eastern Region territory, but we didn't see anything on the outward journey so kept quiet.  However, on the return trip we spotted a loco standing shed side on top of the bridge.  My friend's dad reluctantly agreed to pull over (there was less traffic in those days!).  We sprinted back to the bridge and clambered up to the top, where we were greeted by A3 60049 Galtee More steaming gently in the sunshine.  This was my pal's first Gresley Pacific and he was almost beside himself with excitement.

Class A3 No. 60049 'Galtee More' at Grantham shed in the early 1960s.
Photograph by Keith Pirt.

I vowed to return for a full day's spotting and did so, with various friends, on four occasions during the rest of that year - always to Springfield Road bridge.

Springfield Road weaves through this photograph. The return trip from Mablethorpe brought Bob and his pal under the railway from the right. They would then pass, on their right, the road entrance to the Down side goods yard and the 'Loco' (engine shed). The passenger station is off to the top left.
Taken on 19th April 1950.
Photograph from 'Britain from Above' © English Heritage, image reference EAW028683

What with the larking about on the Midland Red bus journeys and the wonderful 'cops' that were made, these were some of the happiest days of my childhood.


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5 thoughts on “How we discovered Springfield Road Bridge

  1. Humphrey Platts

    The Springfield Road bridge is one of the two in Grantham, the other being Barrowby Road bridge, which have the sad reputation of being hit by many tall vehicles whose drivers seem oblivious to all warning signs. One of the most serious was when the driver of a double-decker bus carrying children drove up Springfield Road. The bus hit the bridge severely damaging the upper deck. Fortunately there were no casualties among the young passengers who were able to get clear when they saw what was about to happen! I do not recall the date of this accident but remember an account which appeared in The Grantham Journal.

  2. Andy Hides

    Humphrey, you may be thinking of the accident in October 1998 involving a double decker belonging to local firm Kimes Coaches, Folkingham.

    The third bridge, Harlaxton Road also suffers from bridge strikes by road vehicles. In the mid 1980s I drove for Lincolnshire Road Car. One of my colleagues panelled the roof of a double decker bus there when he pulled to one side to allow an HGV to pass him.

  3. Robert Fairbrother

    In the late 1980s (or possibly early 1990s) I was working at BMARC on Springfield Road and we ordered two Mazak Multiplex twin spindle turning centres to machine, amongst other things, electric motor casings for Hoover's plant in Wales. The first machine to be delivered was nearly to the factory when the lorry driver decided that Springfield Road bridge was high enough. Quite embarrassing for Mazak! The machine had to be returned and repaired and, the next time, came from the Harlaxton Road direction.

  4. Brian Maddison

    In 1995, when privatisation came along, I joined with 2 Ex-BR colleagues to form Bridgeway Consulting and one of the jobs we did was to provide structures examination services, especially for the rail industry, including attending Bridge Strikes. I lived nearest to Grantham, so took most of the calls for the three Grantham bridges. In 1998, York control called me to attend the double-decker bus incident at Springfield Road and warned me that it wasn't the usual "scrape" but a serious accident involving a double-decker bus with children. It took me about 20 minutes to drive to the site, wondering all the time what awful situation I might find. My fears were not alleviated when I saw the bus - minus roof - as I approached. Fortunately there were no injuries and I was told that this was because a teacher had realised what was happening and shouted to the children to sit down. They were small children so the whole of the roof was ripped off without any injuries.

    Bridge strikes at Grantham continued to earn money for me and my company until I retired, and the company continues to provide examination services throughout the country.


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