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Peterborough North


great northern
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1 hour ago, LNER4479 said:

Not forgetting connection for stations to Lincoln ... Midville, Stickney, New Bolingbroke, Tumby Woodside, Coningsby ... My Dad once went that way to do his National Service (RAF) square bashing at Coningsby before being posted to RAF Wainfleet.

"On the main line and the goods siding

The grass grows high

At Dogdyke, Tumby Woodside and Trouble House Halt..."

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5 hours ago, great northern said:

I think we need to remember that the whole pace of life was so much slower then, particularly in rural areas such as those traversed by the E. Lincs railway. I doubt that many people chased around to save a couple of minutes as we are conditioned to do nowadays.

 

The timetable though is interesting. The summer 1957 public timetable shows the 4.05 Cleethorpes stopping as follows:-  Spalding 4 minutes, Boston 5 minutes, Firsby 6 minutes, and Louth just 3 minutes. The only one showing a connecting service was Firsby, for Skeggy of course, so perhaps that was considered an operational neccesity. Why otherwise would it stop for twice as long as at Louth, a much more significant place, in rural Lincs terms anyway? The 6.20 service called at Spalding 4 minutes, Boston 5, Firsby 4, again with Skeggy connection shown, and Louth for 4. Alford got only one minute stops for both trains. Does that suggest that there was in fact some real operational reason for the length of stops at Firsby?


I had overlooked the Skegness connection , but I think we will never know the real answer. However I’ve checked the connections an curiously both the  Cleethorpes Express and the Skeggy connection were both timed to arrive at 7.04 and leave at 7.10  so waiting for connections wouldn’t be the reason. However , whatever the reason was it still doesn’t explain the other long stops on the journey, especially when one considers something like the ACE was only allowed five minutes at Salisbury to take on 4000 gallons of water, detach a coach and have a wheel tapper do his work.

 

Life certainly was a slower pace in the 1950’s but so was management. The BTC was known to be top heavy in bureaucracy and Sir Brian Robertson was a military man rather than either  a railway man or an economist and it was , of course only when Beeching came along that the railways began to change the outdated practices designed for a previous era including timetables. I actually wanted to go onto the railways doing timetables when I left school but with hindsight I’m glad I didn’t !

 

However, none of this detracts from my original point that B1’s were great looking, super locos . :rolleyes:

 

 

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1 minute ago, jazzer said:


I had overlooked the Skegness connection , but I think we will never know the real answer. However I’ve checked the connections an curiously both the  Cleethorpes Express and the Skeggy connection were both timed to arrive at 7.04 and leave at 7.10  so waiting for connections wouldn’t be the reason. However , whatever the reason was it still doesn’t explain the other long stops on the journey, especially when one considers something like the ACE was only allowed five minutes at Salisbury to take on 4000 gallons of water, detach a coach and have a wheel tapper do his work.

 

Life certainly was a slower pace in the 1950’s but so was management. The BTC was known to be top heavy in bureaucracy and Sir Brian Robertson was a military man rather than either  a railway man or an economist and it was , of course only when Beeching came along that the railways began to change the outdated practices designed for a previous era including timetables. I actually wanted to go onto the railways doing timetables when I left school but with hindsight I’m glad I didn’t !

 

However, none of this detracts from my original point that B1’s were great looking, super locos . :rolleyes:

 

 

B1's were and are an aesthetically pleasing loco. They have that Thompson touch of clean class. All his great designs have it, B1s, K1s and L1s.
I wonder if some of the rough riding problems came about because of the time they were built. After WW2 the railways needed strong reliable locos fast and the LNER had the Gresley legacy to contend with, a bit like the SNCF battling with the Chapleon legacy.
These locos were built quickly and, possibly suffered.
I know drivers up here in the forgotten Central Division liked the B1s, the L1s didn't do too badly either.
The lads in the North East loved the K1s. We had them around in Manchester too.
I am perfectly prepared to be shot down by the LNER experts on this superb thread.
I will post my hybrid liveried Chamossaire when I've done it, if Gilbert says OK.
Regards, as always,
Chris.

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1 hour ago, Flying Fox 34F said:

The 6 minute stop may have been due to Parcels and Small items sent by Passenger train being offloaded and others loaded?

 

Paul

I've now looked at the Up trains too. The 6.51 Grimsby allowances were:- 2 minutes at Louth, Willoughby, Firsby and Spalding, with only Boston getting 5 minutes.  The 8.48 Cleethorpes allowed Louth 2, Firsby 5 Boston 5 and Spalding 4.

 

Surely there must be operational reasons for these differences? Why dwell for longer if it wasn't necessary? The other thing that occurs to me is a practical one. Down trains stopping at Firsby were separated from the far side of the island platform, and passengers had to alight and get across the footbridge to access the Skegness connection, which left just two minutes after the Grimsby train. Was the time needed to get across there by some passengers taken into account? On the Up trains the stopping times could be less, as the distance from the branch train to the main was considerably less too. Or is that a load of rubbish? Back then trains were held to allow connections, unlike today, so perhaps the needs of elderly or infirm passengers were too.

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9 minutes ago, great northern said:

I've now looked at the Up trains too. The 6.51 Grimsby allowances were:- 2 minutes at Louth, Willoughby, Firsby and Spalding, with only Boston getting 5 minutes.  The 8.48 Cleethorpes allowed Louth 2, Firsby 5 Boston 5 and Spalding 4.

 

Surely there must be operational reasons for these differences? Why dwell for longer if it wasn't necessary? The other thing that occurs to me is a practical one. Down trains stopping at Firsby were separated from the far side of the island platform, and passengers had to alight and get across the footbridge to access the Skegness connection, which left just two minutes after the Grimsby train. Was the time needed to get across there by some passengers taken into account? On the Up trains the stopping times could be less, as the distance from the branch train to the main was considerably less too. Or is that a load of rubbish? Back then trains were held to allow connections, unlike today, so perhaps the needs of elderly or infirm passengers were too.

 

Even among the Down trains the Cleethorpes seems to have had a longer stop than most . So back to my first point if If was a genuine operational reason that was so significant that it was written into the daily time table what was it ? I can understand a few passengers wanting the Skeggey connection but that would only need the branch train to be held. I presume any news papers would go on the later express or perhaps a morning newspaper train. As you said it was a slower pace of life then and it just intrigues me what would require a long stop at that time of the evening?  We will never know of course but it’s just part of the railway operation that fascinates me.

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3 hours ago, Sandhole said:

B1's were and are an aesthetically pleasing loco. They have that Thompson touch of clean class. All his great designs have it, B1s, K1s and L1s.
I wonder if some of the rough riding problems came about because of the time they were built. After WW2 the railways needed strong reliable locos fast and the LNER had the Gresley legacy to contend with, a bit like the SNCF battling with the Chapleon legacy.
These locos were built quickly and, possibly suffered.
I know drivers up here in the forgotten Central Division liked the B1s, the L1s didn't do too badly either.
The lads in the North East loved the K1s. We had them around in Manchester too.
I am perfectly prepared to be shot down by the LNER experts on this superb thread.
I will post my hybrid liveried Chamossaire when I've done it, if Gilbert says OK.
Regards, as always,
Chris.

I agree. In addition, to your points the first ones were designed and built under the very strict costs constraints of WW2 and had to operate on the poor quality coal of the era.  Of course it has to be remembered that the B17’ s also got a bit rough when the mileage increased. I think the rough riding aspect of the B1’s probably got a a bit exaggerated. A two cylinder 4-6-0 is always likely to be more uncomfortable than a 3 cylinder 4-6-0. 

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I recently attended a very interesting talk regarding the closure of the East Lincolnshire line and the economics behind the decision to do so. Most of the year there was very little travel between the stations on the line, most tickets were sold at Grimsby or Boston for through journeys to London. Most people remember summer Saturday's with trains coming from the East Midlands to Skeggy and Nottingham-on-Sea, whoops I mean Mablethorpe making things look busy, even that was on decline with package holidays and car ownership. There was very little freight generated from the intermediate stations and little through traffic. The main freight traffic was from the grain silo at Louth (now Aldi supermarket) and Grimsby. That was money coming in.

 

Just to get an idea of money going out there were over 60 manned level crossings on the mainline and branch lines. Where I live there were 5 in the village. Even the large number of redundancies when the pay trains were introduced didn't help the loss the line was making.

 

As for the long station stops, most of the line was in the council district of East Linsey. If you live here you will know that there is two types of time, real time and "East Linsey why rush time".

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12 hours ago, Clive Mortimore said:

I recently attended a very interesting talk regarding the closure of the East Lincolnshire line and the economics behind the decision to do so. Most of the year there was very little travel between the stations on the line, most tickets were sold at Grimsby or Boston for through journeys to London. Most people remember summer Saturday's with trains coming from the East Midlands to Skeggy and Nottingham-on-Sea, whoops I mean Mablethorpe making things look busy, even that was on decline with package holidays and car ownership. There was very little freight generated from the intermediate stations and little through traffic. The main freight traffic was from the grain silo at Louth (now Aldi supermarket) and Grimsby. That was money coming in.

 

Just to get an idea of money going out there were over 60 manned level crossings on the mainline and branch lines. Where I live there were 5 in the village. Even the large number of redundancies when the pay trains were introduced didn't help the loss the line was making.

 

As for the long station stops, most of the line was in the council district of East Linsey. If you live here you will know that there is two types of time, real time and "East Linsey why rush time".

Yes, that puts things into perspective, and makes a very strong case for closure, provided of course that only economic factors were to be taken into account., and that only short term factors were to be looked at. The social elements were of course ignored.

 

I've read many times of local people being up in arms when their local railway was up for closure, even though they almost never made use of it. Should it be there as a matter of social need? So far as the E.Lincs is concerned, the closure of so many miles of main line, seems wrong to me, and I do wonder how well it might be used now, if still open. The branches to Spilsby and Bardney, and the Mablethorpe loop, would, I think, be a different matter, so Clive wouldn't be able to hop on his local for his trips to Louth, thus avoiding all those pesky cyclists. And tractors, don't forget the tractors.

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38 minutes ago, Pilgrim in France said:

Were the long stops for the Cleethorpes expresses because the platforms were too short to take the whole train in one go? I am sure I remember that happening and passengers at the rear told not to try and get out as the train would soon move forward to allow them to demount

 

Could be that; I remember that used to happen sometimes when expresses used to call at Huntingdon, for example.

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12 hours ago, Pilgrim in France said:

Were the long stops for the Cleethorpes expresses because the platforms were too short to take the whole train in one go? I am sure I remember that happening and passengers at the rear told not to try and get out as the train would soon move forward to allow them to demount

I think you may have found the answer. I do have a book devoted to Firsby station, so I'll see if there is information therein as to the length of the platforms.

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Sometimes patience is rewarded. My book was written by a gentleman who was brought up very close to the station, and knew it very well from the mid 1930s to closure. He describes a sequence of events on a typical day, and includes the following:- " The express is a long train, and it stops with the front part by the platform.... whistles sound, and the train draws forward to bring the rear half to the platform." "More shouts, whistles and arm waving bring the train to a halt. Yet again the staff shout their instructions to passengers, and now to the slamming of doors is added the sound of barrows trundled along, and the noise of mail and parcels being loaded and unloaded."

 

I don't think all that would happen in a couple of minutes. Firsby was also the junction for local mail and parcels, as well as passengers, and the author stresses that most, if not all trains had transfers taking place.

 

So, now we know. The book, by the way, is Firsby Portrait of a Country Junction by Gordon H Brown. Published 1994, so sadly no doubt long out of print, but it is a fascinating read.

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22 minutes ago, great northern said:

Sometimes patience is rewarded. My book was written by a gentleman who was brought up very close to the station, and knew it very well from the mid 1930s to closure. He describes a sequence of events on a typical day, and includes the following:- " The express is a long train, and it stops with the front part by the platform.... whistles sound, and the train draws forward to bring the rear half to the platform." "More shouts, whistles and arm waving bring the train to a halt. Yet again the staff shout their instructions to passengers, and now to the slamming of doors is added the sound of barrows trundled along, and the noise of mail and parcels being loaded and unloaded."

 

I don't think all that would happen in a couple of minutes. Firsby was also the junction for local mail and parcels, as well as passengers, and the author stresses that most, if not all trains had transfers taking place.

 

So, now we know. The book, by the way, is Firsby Portrait of a Country Junction by Gordon H Brown. Published 1994, so sadly no doubt long out of print, but it is a fascinating read.

According to Wikipedia all three platforms were 220 yards long , which would be about 12 coaches, if that is the correct length. You would know better than me the make composition of the Cleethorpes express in 1958 but I doubt whether it would be more than 8or 9 coaches which would comfortably fit in a 220yards  platform. The station was said to be at its peak in the 1920’s . So I wonder whether either the platforms were lengthened at some stage (possibly WW2) or train lengths shortened as traffic dropped off , and as in so many other cases nobody told the time tabling side, so nothing was changed.

 

Interestingly the 1960 timetable seems to allow a few extra minutes ( usually 4 or 5 ) for trains stopping at Huntingdon but as the station has been substantially rebuilt since then we don’t know the reason.

 

The only certainty in all this is that we are all quite mad in discussing why a train stopped for a certain time at a long since closed station 62 years ago !

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1 hour ago, great northern said:

I did look at Wikepedia too, but it is not famed for its accuracy, and what it said did not fit in with what I have seen or what Mr Brown says. My lawyer's brain won't let go of this, so I went back to the book to try to get a definitive result. I am going to post some images from the book, as I take the view that what we are discussing here counts as research. I will of course remove them if the owner of the copyright so wishes.

 

The Carriage working book for 1958 shows the normal Grimsby/Cleethorpes expresses as loading to 11 bogies, but photographs show that quite often parcels vans were added, and on summer Saturdays there could be 13 on. So to evidence.

 

First is a sketch plan from the book.

 

 

453510904_firsbyplan.jpg.e59dfae070a685aa8bd58b3f115d77fc.jpg2009633588_southendup.jpg.318220d5051bbab2d608814ed32a2021.jpg

Then a 1962 dated photo looking North. The far end of the Up platform can be seen, and even allowing for foreshortening there isn't room for many more coaches behind the two in view. How far from footbridge to level crossing, which incidentally prevented the possibility of extension to the South?

 

 

378720615_southenddown.jpg.b82437cc6c460ae86d9fe045dc84d1a9.jpg

Well, here's the opposite view. The WD is not far short of the footbridge, and almost none of what is behind the tender is in front of the barrow crossing.

 

 

954368081_northend.jpg.ee39b8dfd37c967b416de9ac4ce1442e.jpg

Here is the North end, again the date given is in the 1960's. End of Up platform in view, and the sidings and goods shed on the Down side look very similar to the plan. No evidence of extended platforms there. All that evidence strongly suggests to me that things remained the same post war as described by Mr Brown in his book. The book is 108 pages long, and he goes into considerable detail, including the changes that occurred between his boyhood and closure. I don't think he would have forgotten to include information like lengthening of platforms if it had happened. Result Wikepedia 0, Mr Brown 4. You can't beat reliable evidence.

 

Even for those who aren't bothered about this esoteric discussion, I hope that seeing a little of what Firsby Junction was like may be of interest.


Thanks Gilbert. I find these things fascinating and I have learned quite a lot of what Firsby Junction was like, in particular that lower picture shows what seems to be a very big goods shed for a line that apparently didn’t carry much freight  so it must have seen a good deal more traffic at on point..

 

Secondly I had no idea that a weekday evening service to  Cleethorpes would be loaded to 11 bogies plus vans, I would have thought 8 or 9.   For a  B1 to take something possibly we’ll in excess of 350 tons from KX to PN in an hour and 31 minutes, is an outstanding performance for a loco of that size and (presumably ) the KX crew as far as PN, only 11 minutes behind the best Pacific times. If there were thirteen coaches on a summer Saturday the train would probably be around 400 tons of more yet was still only allowed 91 minutes for the 76 miles to PN
 

The thing that most surprised me was that although the weekday and Sunday trains were shown in the timetable as Buffet car trains the busy Summer Saturday version is shown as Second class only but no Buffet car! 
 

Rather surprisingly the 13 coach Saturday version of the train is only allowed a 4 minute stop at Firsby which hardly seems long enough to stop then pull forward half a train length then stop again, although in those days the public timetable and working timetable were often different things. The Sunday train though was back to a 7 stop . 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, jazzer said:


Thanks Gilbert. I find these things fascinating and I have learned quite a lot of what Firsby Junction was like, in particular that lower picture shows what seems to be a very big goods shed for a line that apparently didn’t carry much freight  so it must have seen a good deal more traffic at on point..

 

Secondly I had no idea that a weekday evening service to  Cleethorpes would be loaded to 11 bogies plus vans, I would have thought 8 or 9.   For a  B1 to take something possibly we’ll in excess of 350 tons from KX to PN in an hour and 31 minutes, is an outstanding performance for a loco of that size and (presumably ) the KX crew as far as PN, only 11 minutes behind the best Pacific times. If there were thirteen coaches on a summer Saturday the train would probably be around 400 tons of more yet was still only allowed 91 minutes for the 76 miles to PN
 

The thing that most surprised me was that although the weekday and Sunday trains were shown in the timetable as Buffet car trains the busy Summer Saturday version is shown as Second class only but no Buffet car! 
 

Rather surprisingly the 13 coach Saturday version of the train is only allowed a 4 minute stop at Firsby which hardly seems long enough to stop then pull forward half a train length then stop again, although in those days the public timetable and working timetable were often different things. The Sunday train though was back to a 7 stop . 

 

 

 

Things had changed by the summer of 58, when there were three Down afternoon trains. The first left KX at 2.18pm, and was for Cleethorpes via Skegness, where it reversed! 12 on, 410 tons, and allowed 91 minutes non stop to PN. That had an RKB, which was in one of the weekday sets. The second one left at 3.52 and was for Cleethorpes. Again 12 on, 397 tons, 92 mins non stop to PN. It had an RF in the formation, but marked "to be locked, no dining service". That one only ran from 26th July to 30th August, but also when required on other weeks. The third was at 4.08pm, formed of a morning train from Skegness. 11 on, 365 tons, but marked not to exceed 420! as in fact all three were. 91 minutes allowed to PN. That contained an RMB, again marked to be locked.

 

The evening service left KX at 6.45, 11 on, 371 tons, not to exceed 385. It had an RB, not locked, and was allowed 93 mins to PN. That used the stock of one of the regular weekday trains. It has to be said that at the height of the summer Saturday service, everything, even the top expresses, was allowed 90 mins or slightly more to and from PN. Line occupancy did not allow anything faster, and it was usually rather slower. Finally, one at least of the weekday trains had Immingham men from Grimsby/Cleethorpes to Boston, but Boston men from there to KX and back. My uncle said that was his depot's proudest duty, but I don't know if he himself drove it.

 

I seem to be a mine of relatively useless information today.

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I’ve just been playing with the Side by Side maps website. Playing with measurement tool the total length of each platform is approximately 340 feet. Take off the ramps at each end and the useable length is 300 feet.  
It is quite correct that here we are researching and debating train operation at a Station that ceased to exist 51 years ago. 
 

Paul

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