Tribute to sisters’ dad as light railway locomotive is named after him

Rachel (left) and sister Sarah (right) with the locomotive named after their father and his copy of the nameplate, which they have presented to the LCLR Historic Vehicles Trust for safe-keeping and display. Photo: Dave Enefer/LCLR)
Rachel (left) and sister Sarah (right) with the locomotive named after their father and his copy of the nameplate, which they have presented to the LCLR Historic Vehicles Trust for safe-keeping and display. Photo: Dave Enefer/LCLR)

Although it’s traditional to go on honeymoon straight after the wedding one bride postponed her trip to inaugurate a historic locomotive in memory of her late father.

Sarah and Peter Ryalls married on 15th July and planned to set off for honeymoon the next day.

However, Sarah and her sister Rachel Foster were invited to be guests of honour at the Gala of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway (LCLR) in the Skegness Water Leisure Park, to inaugurate the loco’s return to service, bearing its new name - that of their father ‘Major J.A. Robins R.E.’

The late Major “Tubby” Robins took on the role of President of the LCLR’s Historic Vehicles Trust, which was set up to preserve First World War trench railway vehicles surplus to the company’s needs and offered a home for them to be restored and displayed in the Museum of Army Transport in Beverley, nearly 35 years ago.

The Trust had nameplates cast and presented one to “Tubby”. It was displayed at his funeral in Bridlington Priory last year.

Over the past few months, the locomotive has been repaired, renovated and repainted and specially cast nameplates “Major J.A. Robins R.E.” affixed. At the Gala, the locomotive was coupled to a First World War bogie wagon restored with a £43,000 grant from the Peoples’ Millions Fund of the National Lottery as a disabled access carriage, which also offers visitors the opportunity to experience what it was like for soldiers in WW1 to travel to the front line.

Sarah, who lives in Bridlington, said: “When we learned of the plan to name the locomotive after my father, we agreed we could not miss the occasion and so postponed our honeymoon to go to Skegness to see it and to take a ride behind it. The nameplates look splendid and are a wonderful memorial to him and his career in the Army”.

Sarah and Peter are now in Northumberland, enjoying their postponed honeymoon.