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A Lincolnshire Railway Walk. In February 2009, Phil Earnshaw arranged a walk – with the consent of all the landowners – along part of the former Great Northern line from Grimsby to Louth, starting at Ludborough and heading south to Louth. As Phil hails from the north west, the flat countryside of the Lincolnshire Wolds must have presented a major change of scene for him. Bob Hipgrave was there to record the event.
Above: Ludborough station, seen here from the public highway, is now home to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, which is busy restoring the line northwards to North Thoresby. The cycle hire facility will come as no surprise given the flatness of the local countryside! February 2009. (Bob Hipgrave)
 

Above: A brief look at the running line of the NWR, looking towards North Thoresby. Note the dusting of snow on the ballast, which indicates how cold the day was. February 2009. (Bob Hipgrave)

 
Above: Despite the Grimsby-Louth line being double track throughout, many of the level crossings were not fitted with four small gates, but two very large ones. This example at Fotherby Halt is showing the result of 29 years of neglect. Note the rails still embedded in the tarmac. Passenger services were withdrawn between Grimsby and Firsby on 5 October 1970, but the section from Grimsby to Louth (Keddington Road) remained open for freight until December 1980. It was during the freight-only period that the line was reduced from double to single track. February 2009. (Bob Hipgrave)
 
Above: Fotherby station house survives in good condition as a private residence, but the original windows have been replaced by modern UPVC units. The first station to serve this village was Fotherby Gate House, which was opened in 1852. Unfortunately for intending passengers, trains called there only on market days, which reduced its trade to such an extent that it was closed permanently in 1872. Fotherby Halt was opened on the same site in 1905 when a railmotor service was introduced on the line, but this too closed in 1961 when BR shut the minor stations between Grimsby and Firsby in order to reduce costs and speed up services. February 2009. (Bob Hipgrave)
 
Above: A typically wintry scene, looking south from Fotherby towards Louth. An old signal shorn of its arm stands gauntly over the empty trackbed, while another level crossing gate survives, slowly sinking into the ground. February 2009. (Bob Hipgrave)
 
Left: Louth station as it appeared in 1989 – 9 years after freight services had been withdrawn from the town, and 19 years after it had lost its passenger services. This photograph demonstrates the contempt with which historic railway buildings were treated at this time, when they were seen frequently as liabilities with no long term potential – despite the fact that few developers, then or now, could afford to construct anything of this grandeur or quality. Fortunately, this building (the finest on the line) was Grade II listed, but that makes it all the more astonishing that it was subjected to this level of neglect. August 1989. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: After the above photograph, it is good to see that Louth station was deservedly given a new lease of life. It has now been restored as flats, the work being completed in the early 1990s. February 2009. (Bob Hipgrave)
 
Above: The elaborate passenger canopy at Louth station, restored to its original splendour. February 2009. (Bob Hipgrave)