Skip to content

Spotting Notes September 1963 to January 1964

Above: Class O4 No. 63813 of Retford shed rests at Grantham over the ash pits, near the site of the 'old shed', in the weak early afternoon sunlight of Saturday November 16th 1963.  Built in 1918 in Glasgow, this old trooper spent its first 9 years with the army's Railway Operating Division (ROD).  Though looking wearied from 45 years' service, No. 63813 would soldier on until March 1965.

Phil Wilson’s spotting notes, predominately recording steam but with selective diesel power included, are reproduced below.  These cover the period between early September 1963 and the last week of January 1964.


  • S means it was a Stopping train
  • St means Straight through
  • π  means the train terminated at Grantham
  • For the direction of travel, N or an arrow pointing downwards () is Northbound or Down
  • S or an arrow pointing upwards () is Southbound or Up

Pages 1 & 2.  Spotting Notes for Sunday 8th and most of Monday 9th September 1963:

Pages 3 & 4.  The next pages cover the final record for 9th September 1963, and follow on into Tuesday 10th and part of Wednesday 11th September:

Pages 5 & 6.  Moving on to pick up the remaining sightings for Wednesday 11th September, then through to Wednesday 18th September 1963:

Pages 7 & 8.  An unidentified V2 on a freight train is the last entry for Wednesday 18th September, then we move on through several visits to Friday 4th October:


On Thursday 19th September 1963 (above), the first loco spotted by Phil, just before 6pm, was A3 No. 60112 St. Simon running light on the Up line through the station.  By pure coincidence, Cedric Clayson had spent that same afternoon on the station and, as Phil opened his notebook, he was about to leave to catch the bus home to Leicester.  There was just time for one more photograph, and it shows exactly what Phil recorded … a discovery made when compiling these pages some 57 years afterwards 

No. 60112 'St. Simon' takes the Up Main line through Grantham station, passing Grantham North signal box at 5.54pm on Thursday 19th September 1963.  It's displaying the fading signs of a partial repaint and special decorative touches applied the previous month in preparation for  hauling the 'Southern Counties Enterprise' special from London Waterloo to Weymouth on Sunday 25th August.
Photograph taken by Cedric Clayson.
Going back a few weeks to late August 1963 the same locomotive, specially prepared and very generously coaled, was photographed by Phil heading south on the goods line in Spittlegate cutting.  It was most likely off to the Southern Region's Nine Elms shed ready for the trip to the West Country.

Pages 9 & 10.  Picking up the final entry for 4th October, daily visits to Grantham now take place between Saturday 5th October right through to Friday 11th October, before a Saturday trip to Nottingham (page 11, not included):


Pages 12 & 13.  After the Saturday at Nottingham, Phil is at the lineside at Grantham on most days from Monday 14th October right through to Tuesday 29th October:

Pages 14 & 26.  Between Wednesday 30th October 1963 and Saturday 2nd November Phil pulls in a variety of visits to Grantham, High Dyke, Allington Junction and Melton Junction (which is west of Melton Mowbray Town station).  Pages 15 to 22, not included, continue at Melton Junction then cover a major day out to Crewe on 4th November (resulting in 233 'cops').  Phil resumed at Grantham on Tuesday 5th November:


Pages 27 & 28.  From Tuesday 12th November and through the rest of the month into early December Phil has a series of shorter visits to Grantham.  Then Saturday 7th December shows him taking another trip to Nottingham Victoria.  On the following Monday at Grantham an unidentified A1 shows up on The Northumbrian. Further sightings on Tuesday 10th and part of Wednesday 11th December bring in a mixed bag, but it's mostly diesel powered:

Pages 29 & 30.  Continuing on Wednesday 11th December until Thursday 19th:

Pages 31 & 30a.  Friday 20th December to part of Saturday 28th, with a supplement for 21st when, perhaps, he forgot to take his notebook.

Pages 32, 33 & 34.  Here's the remainder of Saturday 28th December plus New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and Thursday & Friday 2nd & 3rd January 1964:

Page 38.  The first week of January 1964 includes spotting at Nottingham, and a Derbyshire Railway Society trip to sheds at Rugby, Leamington Spa, Woodford Halse, Banbury, Oxford, Swindon and Didcot - total 'cops' 358! (on pages 35 to 37, not included).  'Normal service' resumed at Grantham on Wednesday 8th January.

Phil's notes continue from February  to June 1964 on the next page.

Copyright note:  the article above is published with the appropriate permissions.  For information about copyright of the content of Tracks through Grantham please read our Copyright page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *