During a tour of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway to see the
unique World War One trench railway train restored by its volunteers,
the Boston and Skegness MP (and Minister for the Overseas Territories and Minister for Africa) Mark Simmonds, told the BBC TV's
Look North programme, BBC Radio Lincolnshire and the local newspapers, that he fully supports the idea of using it in the
commemorations to mark the centenary of the conflict, to enable people to appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of those who fought and died.
Mr Simmonds and the media visited the LCLR in response to an approach
on behalf of the LCLR Historic Vehicles Trust, to ask him how
best to make it available to organisations such as schools or public bodies wishing to respond to the Prime Minister's suggestions that organisations
and individuals with WW1 artefacts or memorabilia should come forward to participate in the commemoration from 2014 to 2018 of "The War To End All Wars".
LCLR spokesman John Chappell told the media: "We didn't really know
who to approach, so asked the MP to make sure our offer reached the right
He said he would like to come to see our collection and was clearly delighted with what he found. We took him for a ride in one of the former Ashover
Light Railway carriages -- which runs on World War One bogies, along rails first laid in the trenches of that conflict's battlefields and showed him
how half a century's restoration has resulted in the LCLR being home to this unique train of vehicles from that time.
The visit and the MP's positive comments were covered on BBC TV and radio and by the local press
- very much a Skegness success story".
The MP poses for the cameras in front of the unique ambulance van -- the WW1 equivalent of today's battlefield helicopters
which are now used to evacuate wounded soldiers from the fighting in Afghanistan.
The BBC filming the trench railway stock hauled by one of the LCLRs simplex diesel locos.
Mr Simmonds in the interior of the former Ashover carriage while being interviewed for BBC Radio Lincolnshire
and guard Jim Smith checking tickets!
Mr Simmonds takes to the footplate of the "Simplex" diesel
locomotive used on his inspection train.
All photographs and text by Chris Bates of LCLR.