Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway founder dies at 91

THE Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway has been in mourning for its founder and preservation pioneer Bill Woolhouse, who died at the age of 91.

Bill, the 2ft gauge line’s company secretary and director, passed away on March 16, in the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.

Bill Woolhouse empties a wheelbarrow of ballast ready for the sleepers and rails to be laid at the relocated Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway at South Loop, in the Skegness Water Leisure Park in 2002. Also pictured are (right) fellow director Astling Evison and two volunteers who have been involved with the LCLR since 1961, Chris Bates (left) and Jim Smith. DAVID ENEFER

Nearly seven decades ago, he became member No. 13 of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society and played a founding and active role in the establishment of the world’s first preserved railway. Bill also played crucial roles in saving the Ffestiniog Railway and the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway.

When, with other like-minded local railway enthusiasts, he built the LCLR to link the bus terminus at Humberston with the nearby beach and holiday camp in 1960, it made history by becoming the first heritage line to be laid on a green field site as opposed to an existing formation.

The line brought in equipment mainly from First World War trench lines that were later used to transport potatoes across the Lincolnshire Fens by the Nocton Estates Railway. At its peak, the LCLR carried 60,000 passengers a year, until changing holiday patterns caused its closure in 1985.

Undeterred, the rolling stock and track went into storage and Bill eventually located a new site and helped rebuild the line in the Skegness Water Leisure Park, taking part in its reopening in 2009.

Read more in Issue 227 of HR – on sale now!

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