May 7, 2021 5.29 pm This story is over 14 months old

Mystery solved: What happened to lost model of Horncastle station

Parts of old Horncastle station survived and still in use

Part of Horncastle Railway Station, which was demolished 40 years ago, has survived and is still in use, according to the town’s History and Heritage Society.

A significant part of the building, which was demolished in 1985 to make way for new premises for Bush Tyres, is still in use for its original purpose.

Near to Horncastle, the flagstones which once paved the platform found a new home when they were bought and moved to a property in the district which was being renovated.

They were carefully relaid around the property and today continue to provide a firm and steady surface for pedestrians – just as the original Horncastle Railway Company intended when it built the station in 1855.

Publicity surrounding the discovery of relics and artefacts relating to the Horncastle station has helped to build up knowledge of the line and the role it played in the area.

This includes a milepost, trespass signs, an original hand-lamp (from Woodhall Spa), draughtsmen’s. plans, original tickets, photographs, and even the suggestion that a narrow-gauge train from an old brickworks may be buried under a housing development.

The final half-mile post recovered from the debris on the old Horncastle station site and now preserved privately in the garden of a house in the town.| Photo: Horncastle History & Heritage Society

Very rare Great Northern Railway ticket (pre-1922) from Horncastle to Willoughby (junction for the Mablethorpe Loop Line). | Photo: Dr Chris Extence

Dr Ian Marshman, Chairman of the Horncastle History and Heritage Society, said: “This is a remarkable survival.

“We can’t say where the Horncastle railway flagstones are now in use, but it was an interesting experience to stand on them, just as thousands of passengers had once stood – including the hundreds of soldiers who departed in both world wars, some never to return again.

“Not to mention the countless people off to work, on a train trip to London or the seaside, all things we can no longer do since the station closed. What stories those stones could tell.”

The mystery has also been solved as to what happened to the model of Horncastle Railway Station, which was once displayed in the erstwhile Horncastle Museum.

The missing model of Horncastle station taken in the 1970s when it was on display in the now-closed Horncastle Museum. | Photo: Horncastle History & Heritage Society

The model was built by the late captain Reggie Tweed and had been donated to the museum, but appears to have been lost when it closed.

A retired school teacher recently contacted Dr Ian Marshman and told him he remembered the model being brought by a local historian to Horncastle Community Primary School during a project on the Victorians.

The model was left at the school for safe keeping and was used to illustrate lessons.

It went into storage under the school’s water tower, along with other odds and ends, and then the area flooded. The model and other stored items were damaged beyond repair and had to be thrown away.

Dr Marshman said: “We’re very grateful for this information – and it’s good to know that although the model might not have survived, that several retired teachers still remembered that children had enjoyed using it. It’s also nice to be able to say that we might have finally solved the mystery.”

Locomotive 69808 about to set off from Horncastle with a train for Boston. The flagstones lining the platform edges have recently been rediscovered. | Photo: Wm.Woolhouse Collection/Lincs Coast Light Railway Trust

Horncastle and Woodhall Spa’s railway closed half a century ago. On Saturday, April 3, 2021 it was the 50 year anniversary of the last train rolling out of Horncastle.

The freight was a freight bound for Lincoln, via Woodhall Spa, Woodhall Junction, Stixwould, Southrey and Bardney.

This is where trains had continued to service the sugar beet factory after the closure of the passenger service from Firsby and Woodhall Junction in October 1970.

For Horncastle and Woodhall Spa, it was the end of the line for a service that began on August 11, 1855.

Locomotive 69523 in Horncastle station with the regular two carriages used on the service to Woodhall Spa and Woodhall Junction. | Photo: Wm. Woolhouse Collection/Lincs Coast Light Railway Trust.

The anniversary was marked by a virtual exhibition. Two planned physical exhibitions will take place once coronavirus restrictions have eased further.