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When it comes to Grantham's association with the railway, Tracks through Grantham is one of many sources available.   We aim to signpost other people's work recording and presenting the railway history of the town so, for example, there are lists of books, articles in magazines etc. here.

On the Internet, the saying 'other websites are also available' is as true for Grantham railway interest as it is for soap powder or chocolate bars, and below are links to pages which have appeared on the Grantham Matters website over the past six months since the beginning of November. 

There isn't much information with some of the photos, so we've done some research and added notes.  Most of the photos can be seen much more clearly by using your browser's 'zoom' function to magnify the page.

Two fascinating old photographs of work on the line, dated 1921

  • The top picture appears to be the removal of weathered and degraded stone from the east side of Great Ponton Cutting, between Great Ponton station and Highdyke.  When the cutting here was widened on that side for the new Up Goods line, in about 1875, it's likely that its side was left as a steep rock face.  We got in touch with Richard Cumming who says,  'The top layers of Lincolnshire Limestone (which this is) are very weathered, i.e. loose and open, compared with the thicker solid seams down below.  As a result they are prone to the actions of frost and rain.  I think the men are dealing with a landslip, or a potential landslip, and have been removing all loose material from the side of the cutting leaving the rough, exposed uneven face of more solid material seen in the photo.'
    The words on the side of the wagon are G N BALLAST WAGON NORTH DISTRICT.
    Here and here are links to two later photos which show the same site – perhaps just a few yards further south - after the cutting sides had been graded back.
  • We are sure that the lower picture is in the same locality.  There was a bridge here, shown on maps dated c.1904, and it would be numbered Overbridge 232 in the civil engineer's records.  The maps also show signal posts in the same locations; these would be distant signals for Highdyke box, Up Main and Up Goods.

Running out of rails on one of the Ironstone Quarry Lines

The Ambergate Yard branch railway bridge over Dysart Road being removed

Station Master Harold Scampion in his best uniform welcomes a VIP to the station

  • This photograph is captioned 'Future Prime Minister Anthony Eden entering Grantham station in 1951'.
    The Grantham Journal reports Anthony Eden passing through the station on Tuesday 10th April 1951 to catch the 9.30am to London, having attended an event at Nottingham the previous evening.
    Eden is on the right; on the left is Harold Scampion, Grantham Station Master from 1947 to 1963; in the centre is Stanley Hodgkins, Grantham Division Conservative party agent.  In the background is the now long-gone Station Inspector's house, No. 9 Station Road.
    At this time Eden was in opposition, but he had held important government posts during the 1930s and 1940s including twice being Foreign Secretary, to which post he would again be appointed, in October 1951, in the post-war Churchill government.  Anthony Eden succeeded Winston Churchill as Prime Minister from April 1955 until January 1957.

Not specifically railway, but can you see the route of the main line and the High Dyke branch?

An odd piece of track...

A crowded platform

  • Waiting for the Flying Scotsman Pullman on a Sunday, either 6th or 13th March 1983.

A crowded lineside!

  • What the folk on the platform were waiting for.  The top photo was at Stoke tunnel, not Peascliffe.

Barrowby Road bridge and signal box

A photo of the old Ambergate line terminus

We hope everyone's keeping well.  This update will keep you up to speed with the most recent news on the Tracks through Grantham front as we wait for warmer, longer days and the prospect of some kind of normality returning.


New and Updated Website Pages

New Pages:

  • the Grantham Railway Disaster of 19th September 1906 had calamitous consequences for the Robertson family as they travelled home to Scotland.  There's a new page about how the fateful journey unfolded and its dreadful outcome here.

An Updated Page:

About halfway down the above page we have a report from the front page of The Grantham Journal of 17th July 1942 about the retirement of one of the signalmen:

Arthur Chalkley retires, 32 years a South Box Signalman

The report outlines Arthur's very active working and home life, leading us to ponder "What wouldn't we give to have an opportunity to talk to men like Arthur Chalkley, born in Great Ponton, railway signalman, NUR local branch secretary, Town Councillor, and much more besides."

Thanks to 'Google' the page was discovered recently by one of Arthur Chalkley's granddaughters.  She has been in touch and sent us a wonderful family photograph which we have added beneath the newspaper report.

Further research has revealed that Rosamond Chalkley, Arthur's wife, was also active in local circles and in the mid-1930s she was president of the Grantham Branch of the NUR Women’s Guild (for the wives and daughters of railwaymen).  We hope to have more in future.


A New Page in Preparation

On another front, our quest to encourage former Grantham spotters to tell us about their personal stories of visits to the station and other local railway locations has resulted in another set of nostalgic memories being passed over to us.  This time Phil Wilson has sent over some of his notes and photographs that were taken by himself in and around the Grantham area during the early 1960s.  These notes are currently being pieced together in readiness for a new article that will appear in ‘Spotters' Corner’ so please do look out for it.

Here's a taster...

A3 No. 60062 'Minoru' stationary on the Up Slow line near Springfield Road Bridge with southbound parcels at 6.14pm on Saturday 16th May 1964. This was one of six ex-Grantham A3s which had been transferred to New England shed at Peterborough in September 1963.
Photograph taken by Phil Wilson.
Phil's notes made at Grantham on Saturday 16th May 1964, beginning nearly half-way down the left column. In addition to No. 60062 two of the other five New England A3s made appearances on the day: No. 60112 'St. Simon' at 10.50am and No. 60054 'Prince of Wales' at 6.24pm.

If you have not already done so, make sure you get an early personal notification from us when it is published, by subscribing.  It’s free and very easy to do from the Contact Us or Subscribe page.


LNER and BR(E) Staff Magazines

A few years ago, as part of our ongoing research, we purchased two very useful DVDs from the Great Eastern Railway Society.  The first DVD covers The LNER Magazine from 1927 to 1947, with the second one covering The British Railways (Eastern Region) Magazine from 1948 to 1963. These magazines contain an absolute wealth of information and after many months of painstaking work going through the numerous pages, we have now managed to extract all references to people and incidents that have a connection with Grantham.  This also includes the other local stations that are situated within the boundaries of our Tracks through Grantham territory. To hopefully aid future research when developing new pages for the website, this information has been successfully transferred to a comprehensive searchable spreadsheet.


Grantham Station Buildings in Commercial Use

Various rooms in Grantham's station buildings are being used for commercial purposes these days. 

Back in April 2016 the former First Class Waiting Room was converted into an estate agent’s office.  It's been out of use again for a while, but there's currently a move to change it into a café .

The Whistle Stop micro pub opened in the old Parcels Office in November 2019.  Currently it's closed on account of government restrictions, but we gather they hope to reopen their 'Platform Beer Garden' on 12th April.

Perhaps more unused areas of the station will find new roles in the future.


A Recent Magazine Article

If you've seen Steam World Issue 405, March 2021, you may have seen that there's some local interest:

  • the cover photo is of Grantham's A3 No. 60056 Centenary at York in 1959;
  • on pages 24-29 there's a feature by Nigel Harris titled Around Stoke Bank...   It's a selection of black and white photos from the late 1950s and the mid-1960s, all taken by Philip Wells at a variety of locations between Essendine and Grantham.

Something you may be able to do for us...

While using the website, if you notice anything that needs putting right (such as a link that no longer goes to its intended destination, or something that's inaccurate or out-of-date) please send us a note.  The site has become so extensive that we aren't able to carry out 'housekeeping checks' on every page as regularly as we used to.  More pairs of eyes will be very welcome.  Please use either the Leave a Reply form, which appears on most pages, or the Contact Form on this page.


With best wishes to everyone as we hopefully all 'spring forward',

John Clayson and Mel Smith

Edinburgh Haymarket-based A3 60100 Spearmint was a bit of a rare sight as far south as our Tracks through Grantham territory, so when the locomotive turned up in two separate stories recently sent in by Alan Wilce and Roger Bamber we were tempted to rename 60100 as Doublemint!  However, having chewed it over, we decided to keep things as they were, so hopefully our two new pages in 'Spotters’ Corner' from Roger and Alan will bring a breath of fresh air for our readers.

So join 13-year-old Roger Bamber on Grantham station in 1958, having travelled by bike over the hilly A607 from Leicester.  When opportunities arise to capture some Haymarket Rarities on film, Roger is ready with his camera.  One of the images is a photograph that helped to determine his career.

Then join Alan Wilce in 1960.  Alan arrived from Melton Mowbray in his parents' car.  His records were taken with pencil and notepad rather than film and now, with his Ian Allan ABC 'Combined Volume', his memories and some archive timetables, Alan re-creates for us the excitement of a 3-hour Summer Evening Visit to Grantham in 1960 during which 60100 Spearmint made another rare appearance at the station. 

 

Our latest page explores a little-known piece of equipment on Grantham station.

First of all, we hope this finds everyone keeping well and successfully staying out of harm’s way.

We’re especially pleased to launch our latest new page.  During a period when many of us are 'confined to barracks', we thought it would be a pleasant diversion to get ourselves out and about, historically speaking, on the Tracks through Grantham section of the East Coast Main Line.  So we offer a trip in space and time exploring 13 miles of the line, centred on Grantham, through the lens of photographer Tom Boustead's camera.

Tom’s pictures span five decades, from the 1950s to the 1990s, so they show the effects of sweeping change which affected everyone who worked for, travelled on or lived near the railway.  The photographs also trace the imprint of the East Coast Main Line on the landscape of South Kesteven.  We enjoy many viewpoints discovered by Tom, often with the benefit of his lineside photography permit.

So escape from Lockdown and enjoy Highdyke to Westborough in Fifty Pictures.


We'll be glad to receive feedback on all aspects of Tracks through Grantham so, if you'd like to leave us a note via the site, please do so as follows:

  • for comments on a specific page (which may be included with the page after moderation), use the Comment box under 'Leave a Reply' which appears at the bottom of most pages
  • otherwise, use the Contact Form here.

It's Sunday 27th June 1971 and Grantham Yard signal box is about to close.  Leaving the box for the last time, someone reached into a drawer or cupboard for an old scrapbook which had been lying there for years.  It contained circulars and memos received by the signalmen at the Yard Box between 1900 and 1945, each carefully pasted into a page for possible future reference.  They would be needed no more but maybe someone, someday, might be interested...

At Tracks through Grantham we have recently seen this remarkable survivor.  It truly is a fascinating archive, with many stories to tell about things that mattered to the railway and to its employees.

A new page on our website draws on this resource for the first time.  Fresh Fish Daily! is an insight into the importance of the Scotch fish traffic to the people who operated the Great Northern section of the East Coast Main Line in the early decades of the 20th century.

https://www.tracksthroughgrantham.uk/private/60cc3b46b2c1a

The sign pictured above was brought along to our meeting on 17th April.  Can anyone tell us where on the station this sign would once have been located?

We have several plans of the station, but none of them show a location for the offices of the Traffic Department for the Grantham District.

The sign is made from a framed wooden board and metal letters.  It appears to have been fixed into place just inside each corner.  Approximate dimensions are 40 x 16 inches (1000 x 400mm).  So it's too big for a normal-sized door and would therefore most likely have been attached to a wall.