A grant of £5,000 to help the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway recover from the effects of the Covid pandemic has been made by Lincolnshire County Council’s Business Recovery Fund.
The historic railway in the Skegness Water Leisure Park in Walls Lane, Ingoldmells, was the first heritage railway in the world to be built by enthusiasts when it opened on its original site at Humberston, south of Cleethorpes in 1960, closing there in 1985. It reopened in the Skegness Water Leisure Park in 2009.
However, it was unable to celebrate or to operate any passenger services during what would have been its 60th anniversary year – and so lost a whole summer season’s income from fares and from a planned series of special events.
Instead, those of its volunteers who were able to access the site concentrated on repairs, renovation and improving facilities.
The LCLR Company Secretary, John Chappell, said: “The grant from Lincolnshire County Council will be particularly helpful in covering the cost of the new station building under construction at a time when the railway has lost all its income.
“The number of visitors the railway was attracting from all over the country – not just Skegness’s traditional “holiday heartland” in the East Midlands and Yorkshire – meant that we needed a new ticket office, shop and facilities to supplement the existing basic waiting room.
“The grant will cover most of the cost at a time when the railway has had no income and faces uncertainty about how many people its trains can carry, as it adapts to restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid.
“All of us who are involved with this wonderful part of Lincolnshire’s heritage are extremely grateful to the County Council’s Business Recovery Fund. It will help our trains and our passengers steam into the future with renewed confidence and will give a further reason to visit Skegness and contribute to its economy.
“Thanks to the grant, these improved facilities for our visitors will help us overcome the setbacks caused to what would have been the 60th anniversary of our pioneering role in the world’s railways”.