What if they’d never closed Lincolnshire’s Firsby station?

With the request to build a model of the old station at Firsby in Lincolnshire came a very specific set of instructions giving me a new and interesting element to consider when planning and making the model.

Firsby station, like so many of the rural stations in Lincolnshire, was demolished some 50 years ago, except for one of the pavilion ends which survived until recently as a private dwelling. For a rural station in a small village, Firsby was a very grand affair built in the style of a Georgian mansion complete with a lavish triple-arched stone portico. It was built in 1848 as part of the infrastructure for the second phase of the East Lincolnshire line.

Although the local population was small, this station, at the intersection of the lines from Boston to Louth and Spilsby to Skegness, saw a lot of traffic and many passengers.

Firsby station in all its glory – before so much of the once-extensive railway system in rural Lincolnshire was sacrificed to the Beeching axe.

In the 1940s and 50s, the station was an important destination for RAF and USAF personnel travelling to and from their duties at the airfields in Spilsby and Great Steeping.

After the war this was the change point for holidaymakers bound for Butlin’s Holiday Camp, and for a time it was one of the busiest stations on the East Coast.

The layout designer’s idea is a “what if?” story – what if the line had not closed, but remained in service, giving the growing local villages a rail service to Boston and beyond? Based on that premise, a beautiful building like this may well have recently received a Heritage Lottery grant to restore it and, in line with modern commercial practices, the pavilion ends sold off as private houses and the spacious booking hall, having only a simple self-service ticketing machine and minimal station staff, let to commercial franchises.

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