Sunday, 7 July 2013

Baby Peckett In The Lincolnshire Wolds...

Hello everyone. This week myself & Maisie are on holiday in Skegness. Naturally, as I always do when we go away anywhere, I had checked in advance to see if any railways were in the locality. The obvious choice is the 15" Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway: which we will be visiting later in the week: and not much else. The only other railway name that crops up in Lincolnshire is the little known Lincolnshire Wolds Railway: the only standard gauge railway in the county. The LWR timetable showed that the line was running twice in July: in 2 weeks time, and today. "Surely we could spend an hour there?...Just to say we've been", was the excuse given to the good lady! Resting on the Wolds about 25 miles from Skegness is the LWR's base at Ludborough. You come off the main road and then all of a sudden on a pleasant country lane you reach a level crossing and signalbox, out in the middle of nowhere. There, alongside the crossing, stood a pretty little Peckett 0-4-0 with a train of three coaches and a box van. The word "aww" did cross my mind as I admired the quaint sight from the Saxo. Having parked up we wandered across to the station where the 0-4-0 was ready to depart. Ticket purchased, we boarded the train for a chuff across the Wolds...
"Maisie Enjoys The LWR Scenary"
Leaving Ludborough the 1928-built Peckett, wearing a lovely black livery lined in red & white, gave a shrill whistle as it crossed the crossing and got the weight underway. The engine is named "Fulstow" after the local village of the same name, where it was kept following a working life at Cawdor Quarry in Matlock, being withdrawn in 1970. Restored in Fulstow itself on a private garden railway site, the Peckett now resides at the LWR and completed its most recent 10-yearly overhaul in late 2010. Three coaches seemed no effort for the engine as it departed Ludborough, though once we crested 5mph the regulator was shut for most of the way, with steam seemingly only admitted to keep the cylinders warm. The 1.5-mile journey to the pretty station at North Thoresby is taken slowly, though the countryside is very pleasant, especially on a sunny day like today. Upon arrival at the terminus there is a 10-minute or so break so that passengers can get their photographs of the train and station before departing back to Ludborough, propelling the train. The slow journey up showed that "Fulstow", like our "Sir Gomer", had the typical Peckett waddle, with Chuck Berry Duck-Walks seeming the obvious choice for many as they attempted to walk through the train with the regulator open! I alighted at North Thoresby to have a look at the pretty engine...
"Pretty Peckett"
Though a short journey, I do like quaint places like this as they seem to have 'time for people'. Indeed passengers were chatting away to the crew and finding out more about the LWR and "Fulstow" herself, which at some larger railways you don't get the time for nor the patience. The 0-4-0 sat simmering at North Thoresby until departure...
"House Coal?"
The return journey seemed a lot smoother and "Fulstow" pushed like an express engine. Propelling a train isn't allowed without the correct equipment. In this case the rear coach has the vacuum hose fed up into the coach itself and is connected to a destroyer. This way, if the Guard sees anything that the driver doesn't see then he/she can drop the brake, thus stopping the train. At Shackerstone for example, we are not allowed to propel. Back at Ludborough, the shining Peckett stood quietly ready for the next departure at 12:45...
The LWR runs on what was the old Grimsby to Boston line and has plans of further expansion in the pipeline. Another big job on the LWR's to-do-list is this huge 4-6-0, built in Sweden in 1917. It is hoped to achieve a full restoration at Ludborough and be seen on LWR trains in the future. Looking at it, all you can think is..."that's a big engine, and a BIG job!"...
A BIG Engine!
The Swedish engine is a big hope, though the current operations of the LWR fit the capabilities of "Fulstow" perfectly. There is another engine in service: a Barclay 0-4-0T: which shares duties with the Peckett and between them they are just what the doctor ordered. The saying "little engines can do big things" fits well here. Below, with the sun shining, we see the lovely countryside around the LWR engine shed...
The LWR is quaint and we should support the smaller railways, especially when they are the only one in their county...aka 'rare'! Though the journey is short, the staff are friendly and the stations are well kept. I was also quite taken with the cleanliness of the locomotive which is always a nice thing for the budding visitor to see. Before our departure, we watched pretty "Fulstow" depart on the 12:45 with her train making her look puny at the front!...
A very nicely kept Peckett!...
As little "Fulstow" heads away towards North Thoresby, the driving position in the rear coach for the homebound propulsion can be seen...
"Bye Bye Fulstow"
I was glad that we visited the LWR as we have now seen Lincolnshire's only public standard gauge railway, and ridden on it! We wish them well and hope that they can continue to operate well turned-out industrials across the Wolds. A pleasant little visit in the sunshine...now its back to the seaside! Cheers, Sam...

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