Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway

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..and there will still be a free ride for anyone with a New Zealand passport!

The 60th anniversary of the opening of the world’s first heritage railway* to be built on a greenfield site by enthusiasts, is to be celebrated on Saturday 27th August 2022 by the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway in the Skegness Water Leisure Park (in Walls Lane, Ingoldmells).

It was on the 27th August 1960 that the first trains ran on the original site of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway in North Sea Lane, Humberston, near Cleethorpes – carrying passengers and their luggage from a station near the local bus terminus, to Humberston Beach station, on the edge of Humberston Fitties holiday camp.

The enthusiasts who built the line rented a strip of land from the erstwhile Grimsby Rural District Council and bought a selection of World War One battlefield rails, wagons, two ambulance vans and a 1926 ”Simplex” diesel locomotive which had become redundant on the Nocton Estates Railway – a 23 mile system running across Nocton Fen near Bardney, to an interchange with British Railways at Nocton and Dunston station, between Sleaford and Lincoln.

The LCLR immediately became very popular, until a combination of cheap foreign package holidays, the aftermath of the miners’ strike on its core passengers’ ability to take holidays and an unsympathetic local authority, forced its closure in 1985.

However rails and rolling stock mostly went into storage at Burgh-le-Marsh near Skegness (some had also gone to the Museum of Army Transport at Beverley) and were later moved to the site of the developing Skegness Water Leisure Park, where it reopened in 2009. Its subsequent success and recognition of the significance of its collection has seen it hosting a visit by HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne): an extension to the line and relaying with newer and heavier rails and sleepers; grants from various Lottery funds and Lincolnshire County Council, to help with restoration and survival through the covid pandemic. A highlight has been the return to steam of the 1903-vintage 0-6-0ST steam locomotive, Jurassic.

In 2020 as the line prepared to celebrate this unique 60th anniversary in the world’s railway history*, traditional signwriter Tim Fry from Martin Dales, near Woodhall Spa, generously made a commemorative headboard inscribed “1960 – 2020”. However no trains could run that year because of covid – and now with the 62nd anniversary due to fall on an operating day – Saturday 27th August 2022 – the LCLR is planning to place the headboard on one of its services that day.

 The 1960-2020 headboard is placed on Jurassic during preparations to run the steam locomotive 17th Aug 2022.


Maybe all those corny old jokes about late-running trains will come true that day – and another world record will be set!

Trains are due to run from 11.00 to around 4 pm,. Initially and on the penultimate service with a heritage diesel and from around midday to about 3.30 pm with the steam engine Jurassic.

The second heritage railway to be built by enthusiasts on a greenfield site was in 1963, when the Ocean Beach Railway opened at Dunedin in New Zealand’s South Island. Initial celebration plans for the LCLR in 2020  had  included offering a free ride to anyone with a New Zealand passport! To mark this – and the friendship between the two railways, anyone with a valid New Zealand passport can travel free of charge on the LCLR on Saturday 27th August 2022.

Trust chairman Richard Shepherd said: “We get visitors from all over the world coming to ride on our historic trains and so there will be a special welcome that day for Kiwis who remember to bring their passport with them!”

 The 1960-2020 headboard, kindly produced for the railway by Tim Fry, is test fitted on Simplex diesel loco "Major J A Robins RE" at Walls Lane station. Drivers Tim Drury (l) and Geoff Hankin (r) stand by loco on 17th Aug 2022.


However we did mark the opening, subject to Covid precautions, in 2020 - but it was a very quiet affair!

27th Aug 2020 - Long serving driver Mick Allen poses for camera with staff members family, in face masks, to recreate the 1960 opening photo seen below.

The scene on 27th Aug 1960 of the inaugural train at North Sea Lane station in Humberston, with railway directors and family members.