East Coast Main Line Part 1 – King’s Cross to York

Presenter: Stephen Gay

For our first physical meeting since March 2020 we welcomed Stephen Gay for his eighth Watford visit with his presentation of ‘EAST COAST MAIN LINE – PART 1 – Kings Cross to York’

We visited all the principal stations on this route, starting at Kings Cross with a view of the frontage and another of The Great Northern Hotel. Next up was Stevenage with an overall view of the station with its new footbridge and Platform 5. Onto Peterborough a Thameslink EMU crossing the River Nene, and a couple of views 40 years apart of a Deltic and 91105 both heading south, then moving along the line for a shot of Eastfield Signal Box which is still working today. Stephen enjoys taking photos of buses at level crossings and we saw a Delaines bus at Helpston and at Tallington LC an Azuma was passing, this being the only ‘A’ road LC passing over the ECML.

At Stoke Bank there was  the sign ‘MALLARD – 126 MPH – 3 July 1938’ and along the road at Little Bytham we saw a Class 91 going over the bridge by ‘The Mallard’ Public House, now sadly closed. An HST and an Azuma were seen at Grantham a few years apart. At Newark there was a lovely shot of the station with the clock by W. Potts of Leeds, an EMT Class 153 and a Grand Central train going over the River Trent.

At Bathley Lane LC we saw a Marshalls of Sutton-on-Trent bus going over and an HST passing Grove Road SB. At Retford we espied an Up train going over the bridge with a Lincoln DMU going beneath as well as the lovely frontage where the Bassetlaw Railway Society meets in the Station Master’s office. Further north we saw Ranskill SB and Crossing Keeper’s Cottage. Going further north was a Class 91 powering over the River Idle on Bawtry Viaduct.

Into Doncaster we saw the Decoy Yard, the new frontage of the station with the metal poles of past St. Leger winners and shots of trains of Grand Central, TPE, LNER and Northern Trains. The 250-year-old Holgate windmill was spotted and at York we saw an EMT to St. Pancras alongside a LNER to KX, 66168 going under Holgate Bridge. He closed the show with the Edinburgh-London half-way sign.

As is usual with Stephen we were treated to excellent photography, together with 8 or 9 of his poems at various stations on the way down. This was Part 1 of a two part show, and we look forward to the next chapter on his next visit.

Attendance was 21, which was about two thirds of our usual attendance but good for the first physical meeting for 18 months.

Rob Davidson, Watford Branch Secretary