Early days of pioneering Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway

Photos from the collection of Jim Smith
Words by Chris Bates

“On August 27th, 1960, there was opened to passenger traffic a short, new, narrow gauge railway, situated at Humberston, some 3 miles to the south of the popular
 Lincolnshire resort of Cleethorpes. Promoted by a small group of enthusiasts,and built to the 
60 cm gauge, the title of the line was, and still is, 


“The scheme to run a railway originated in 1958, but the promoters of the ‘L.C.L.R’ did not set out to restore, or preserve, a railway, nor were they were supported by any Society and
the subscriptions of its members. Instead, their aimwas to create, and operate commercially, a completely new railway, in a locality which seemed to offer good prospects of success”.

The above is part of the foreword of a booklet written by the late Ken Hartley of Selby in 1970 commemorating the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Lincolnshire Coast
 Light Railway from North Sea Lane Station to Beach station at Humberston.

The line’s move to a new, longer site extending to South Sea Lane, its closure in 1985 andits re-establishment on the new site at the Skegness Water Leisure Park is
illustrated in other galleries on this site. But a remarkable collection of photographs from the early days of the line has now been assembled by one of the line’s
 original supporters, Jim Smith, who is still active in the reconstruction of the LCLR at Skegness.

(The use of these photos here does not imply any claim over their copyright).

In recent years it has been recognised by many preservationists and the railway press that theopening of the LCLR was in fact a very significant moment in British railway
 preservation. It was the first of the “green field” schemes – the “secondgeneration” of enthusiast operated railways as distinct from the preservation or resuscitation of existing railways.
 It showed what railway enthusiastscould be capable of, even with the most modest of resources - (and the LCLR’s resources have always been extremely modest!).

1960 – 1961

Photos from the earliest days are very hard indeed to find.
The Grimsby Evening Telegraph covered the opening of the line, but otherwise, it largely went unremarked.

Bow-framed Simplex 4wd Paul (3995 of 1926) waits in North Sea Lane station with two open carriages as what appears
to be a small party of enthusiasts prepares to board. Note construction work using breeze blocks on the platform,
to replace earlier wooden sided platforms and that entrance doors for the carriages (one an open saloon,
the other open compartment, both built on frames of WDLR Class D bogie wagons). Note WDLR
Class P ration wagon in use on small head shunt (centre of pic) and stock stored in siding on the left.

Newly delivered (from Rugby Portland Cement Co., Southam, Warks) Peckett 0-6-0ST Jurassic (1008 of 1903)
and Ruston & Hornsby 4wd  Southam (168437 of 1933) stand in the siding with two ex WDLR ambulance
vans and the sheeted-over loco owned by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society, Bagnall 0-4-0ST Peter.
It proved too heavy for the LCLR and eventually moved to the Brockham Museum Trust in 1963;
the Ruston was scrapped in 1968 but some parts, including the power unit, were sold to the Tal-y-llyn.

Paul on one-coach train at Beach terminus, note poster board and platform seat (believed to be from Morley).

 Paul with two coach train at Beach – it appears to be the enthusiasts’ party on their visit.

"Jurassic" was soon pressed into service in 1961  to relieve the only operating loco (Paul) and proved popular with
visitors and volunteer workers. It’s seen receiving “fitters’ attention” while waiting to leave
North Sea Lane yard for duty; note WDLR Class P ration wagons in the siding.

A very good view of the original yard at North Sea Lane with one of the former Ashover Light Railway carriages
acquired in 1961 undergoing repair; both WDLR ambulance vans and the Class P wagons visible. All are parked in the run
round loop and head shunt which tended not to be used when single coach trains were in operation on a push-pull basis.