Cab ride: Peterborough to Doncaster via Lincoln.
By the autumn of 2013, the 87 miles of route between Werrington Junction (north of Peterborough) and Bessacarr Junction (south of Doncaster) was the longest remaining stretch of semaphore signalled track left in Britain. This cab-ride over the former GN&GE Joint Line, filmed on a glorious autumn day on a diverted East Coast HST, shows this delightfully antiquated route at its best. Despite the line undergoing extensive modernisation, there were still numerous signal boxes, semaphore signals and manually operated crossing gates still in operation, most of which were due to go by 2014.
The first three miles of the journey are along the East Coast Main Line from Peterborough to Werrington Junction where the diverted Kings Cross to Aberdeen HST takes the Joint Line to head through the rural backwaters of Lincolnshire to Spalding. North of Spalding the route is dotted with numerous wooden crossing gates which are still operated by crossing keepers. At Sleaford (which still had four manual signal boxes) we avoid the towns Avoiding Line and instead pass through the station before taking the single track section to Sleaford North Junction. The journey continues across the Fens through Metheringham before passing through the busy rail hub of Lincoln. After Pyewipe Junction, the semaphore signals and manual boxes at Saxilby and Stow Park are in their final months of operation, while at Gainsborough Lea Road the derelict signalbox awaits demolition. Just around the corner we cross the Grimsby to Sheffield route at Gainsborough Trent Junction, where several semaphores are in their final months of operation. The last leg of the journey is through Beckingham and Finningley to Bessacarr Junction on the southern outskirts of Doncaster. A series of junctions follow in quick succession as we pass Decoy and Belmont Yards before briefly re-joining the East Coast Main Line at Sand Bank Junction to travel the short distance into Doncaster station.
The programme was filmed in 16:9 widescreen and the accompanying soundtrack is that of HST power car 43319’s MTU power unit.
Narrator: David Maxey
Produced by - Locomaster Profiles
Running time - 110 Minutes
Format - 16:9 widescreen
Released - 2013