Railway nostalgia wanted

A picture from Mike Fowler's collection of Firsby Station, taken in October 1970.
A picture from Mike Fowler's collection of Firsby Station, taken in October 1970.

This year marks 45 years since a number of railway stations in our area reached the end of the line and were closed.

The last train travelled on October 5, 1970, and to mark the anniversary an exhibition is being held, starting 45 years to the very day that the line closed.

Ahead of that event an appeal is going out to people who may be able to help and offer items to go on show.

Railway historian and collector Mike Fowler, who will give a presentation on the line at the exhibition, explained: “On October 5, 1970, a huge chunk of Lincolnshire was left without a major piece of public transport infrastructure.

“The railway from Grimsby to Peterborough was wiped off the county’s face along with stations like Louth, Alford, Willoughby, Firsby, Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe.

“Also the line from Little Steeping to Lincoln was obliterated with stations like Midville, Stickney, New Bolingbroke and Coningsby crumbling to rubble. As events turned out the section to Skegness was saved and Spalding to Peterborough re-opened the following year.”

Mr Fowler feels it was a particular shame that Boston did not at least keep its link to Peterborough, which would have left open the prospect of a direct link to London King’s Cross. Most of the route now forms the A16 road to Spalding.

Mr Fowler added: “East Lincolnshire had seen rail closures before having lost Louth to Bardney in 1951, Louth to Mablethorpe in 1960 and Firsby to Spilsby in 1958.

“In October, The Manor House Museum in Alford is hosting a major exhibition of some of the surviving railway relics from these lines. Everything on show has been loaned by collectors and never before, or ever again, and visitors have the opportunity to relive memories of the line that served East Lincolnshire for 122 years.”

The exhibition runs from October 5 to Thursday, October 8 and Mr Fowler’s talk will be held on the closing night.

He appealed for help from readers of The Standard, which had campaigned at the time to try to keep the railway link open.

He added: “If any readers can loan an item from the line to the museum they would be pleased to hear from you. They are also seeking any cine film of the line in operation. This would be digitised and returned with a DVD copy.”

Anyone who can help with the exhibition should call 01507 463073.