Locomotives passing Grangefield Grammar School c1964

t14597 t14598Engineering work on the railways today causes much discussion, but obviously it is not a new thing. The photographs show what used to happen in the 1960’s to avoid bus replacement. If the line was blocked in the Stockton area trains could be diverted from Norton to avoid Stockton station. They would take the Redmarshall line at Norton East and then after reversing at Redmarshall, they took the freight only line to Bowesfield where after another reversal they travelled onwards to Eaglescliffe and points further south.

These two photographs show one of these ‘top and tailed’ workings passing the rear of Grangefield Grammar School. The locomotives are class 40 diesel electrics nos.D399 and D274. Taken 1st November 1964.

Photographs and details courtesy of Garth McLean.

15 thoughts on “Locomotives passing Grangefield Grammar School c1964

  1. Hi all. Just to endorse previous location and building references, I was a frequent visitor to this footbridge (a classic NER type with another example preserved in the great hall at NRM in York) during the 1960s. The train is on a very rarely used diversionary route for East Coast services, so I guess it’s a Sunday. I even have a photograph of a Deltic diesel on this line. In steam days, the northern horizon hosted whisps of smoke from Redmarshall Junction(s) as freight trains drifted downhill to Bowesfield. Formerly an electric railway, the bridge carrying Bishopton Road West over the line still has (maybe?) the holding clips for overhead wiring embedded into its brickwork. On a less anorak note, these crossing points were venues for boys and girls from Fairfield Juniors to engage in out-of-schools meetings…


  2. Hi All
    Liked this picture. Just to confirm consensus about location and features shown. I was often on the footbridge around this time, and for you train buffs, this will be a diversion from an already diverted East Coast Mail Line Service – most probably on a Sunday. I even have photos of a Deltic on the line! In steam days we’d watch a plume of smoke on the northern horizon gradually approach from freights running down to Bowesfield Junction. This footbridge and the two further north were occasional meeting places for boys and girls from Fairfield Juniors to, how shall I say, get to know one another!


  3. I think the school in the background at this time is St Mary’s, St Bedes would be to the right of the photo out of shot, the two schools amalgamated some ten to fifteen years later to form Our Lady and St. Bedes.


  4. Garth, hello, I thought these photos looked familiar. I must have been stood next to you, as I have the almost identical photos and yes as someone has mentioned they were taken from the footbridge carrying the path that led past Grangefield Grammar school. In my photos although of inferior quality show the shadow of the bridge in the the foreground, also the shadow at least two boys stood on the steps at the side. I know you were a keen photographer as I believe you processed and printed your own film. Think of no. 1 Redmire Road and the Buckley’s, hope you are keeping well.


  5. I am pretty sure that a few yards further on was the wooden footbridge over the line which led to Grangefield school. I suspect the photographer was probably on this bridge taking the photo. As kids we would stand on this bridge as the steam trains passed under so we could catch all the smoke, having fun seemed simpler then! We always knew this as the cuckoo railway. The school in the background is Our Lady and St Bede’s.


  6. I recall placing old pennies on the line at the foot-crossing close to Grangefield School and watching the heavy freight engines squashing them flat! Not very H & S conscious, even in the 1950’s, but fun. No houses there at the time. I also recall watching the freight trains go by from up in the apple tree in my grandparents garden in Raby Road. However I don’t recall ever seeing any passenger trains and presumably these would have run mainly on Sundays. I visited the area a couple of months ago and took a stroll down the cycle and footpath which was built on the trackbed when the freight line closed, and this brought back many memories.


  7. This seems to be the mid-morning Newcastle-Liverpool service (via the North East coast route), which arrived at Stockton at around 11am, and was coded 1M67 for many years. It was usually hauled by York or Gateshead based English Electric Type 4’s (as seen above) or British Railways built ‘Peak’ Class Type 4’s.


  8. These photos bring back many happy memories of time spent on the “Cuckoo” line – sometimes with you Garth!!
    Kind regards,
    Geoff Hodson


      • Nice to hear from you Garth. Yes, many happy spotting trips with the GGS Railway society. Trolling through some old photos I found a few at Doncaster and Durham with you in the picture so if there is a way to get your email address I could send them to you


  9. The school in the photograph must be Our Lady and St. Bede’s School then; Grangefield Grammar School is not shown and looks very different. I feel saddened that my old school building at Grangefield is about to be demolished.


  10. I’s always suprising to see views of this area with very few buildings, only the railway cottages, the hump-back bridge & pair of houses on Bishopton Road West & OLSB school. It’s before my time, the railway had already gone, but it reminds me of running the Grange PE cross-country route, as it went all the way along that fence to the bridge (before they built Castle Close). Even did it once when the snow drifted to knee depth! Happy days… not! 🙂


  11. Is the school in the background St Bedes on Bishopton Road West? The bridge looks like the one next to the old co-op club (it has the footpath as an added on part, I think you can see that in the background), with the pair of old farmhouses on their own just to the left of the school (they’re now surrounded by the Elm Tree Farm estate)


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