Celebrations have been held to mark the 10th anniversary of a railway attraction re-opening near Skegness.
The Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Dannatt and the resort’s mascot, the Jolly Fisherman, helped the volunteer-run Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway (LCLR) mark the milestone in its existence last Saturday.
When the LCLR opened in August 1960 at Humbertson, near Cleethorpes, it became the first heritage line in the world to be built by railway enthusiasts.
A quarter of a century later, despite carrying two million passengers, it was forced to close and put its collection into store.
Then, in the mid-1990s, work began to rebuild it in the Skegness Water Leisure Park, at Ingoldmells, and on July 13, 2009, it re-opened.
Speaking to volunteers, supporters, and guests at last weekend’s event, Richard Shepherd, the chairman of the railway’s Historic Vehicles Trust, said: “When we re-opened the railway here 10 years ago, it was a dream come true. A dream – because in 1985 when the original line at Humberston closed, no-one dared believe it would one day run again. No wonder the railway press called us ‘The Lazarus Line’ and ‘The Phoenix Railway’ when we did re-open. Truly, it rose from the dead.”
Highlights from the last 10 years have included: a visit by the Princess Royal; the transformation of a First World War trench wagon into a disabled access carriage, made possible thanks to funds won through a TV competition; and the restoration of the 1903-built steam engine Jurassic.
After thanks were given for all those who have supported the LCLR in its re-birth, the Mayor loaded into the flames of Jurassic’s firebox a wooden anniversary ‘cake’ (actually a chunk of old railway sleeper) iced by Horncastle student Millie Waby and decorated with scenes from the line.
He and the Jolly Fisherman and guests were then presented with giant-size versions of the day’s commemorative train tickets, before the Mayor got the chance to wave the guard’s green flag for Jurassic to steam off towards the line’s terminus.
John Chappell, railway spokesman, said: “It is marvellous to celebrate with so many people the achievement of the railway over the past 10 years.”