One catalyst for my interest in the North Lindsey Light Railway was an experience when I was about eleven. The branch from Dragonby/Normanby Park sidings to Flixborough Wharf runs round the site of Normanby Park Steelworks and the wharf itself was originally used for imported ore for the steelworks as well as, I believe, sending finished products out. Now it’s more for commercial shipping but still sees steel exported from there which is tripped, even now, by rail.
When my Dad worked in local government he knew the then site manager quite well through work and arranged for a cab ride from Flixborough Wharf to Dragonby Sidings and return. Although the line is now direct, before the Normanby Park site was redeveloped fully there was a kick back where the train had to reverse. This was previously the route into the steelworks itself.
The journey was expectedly slow, bearing in mind that the loco was propelling its rake of wagons for half the journey in both directions – empties were taken from the wharf to Dragonby where they were left and loaded wagons collected and brought back to the wharf ready for loading on to ships for forwarding. The whole process seemed to take the whole morning! The loco was crewed by an ex-BR driver and an ex BR shunter, who enjoyed quite a laid back working experience on the branch.
Perhaps I was a little too young to appreciate the finer points of the whole experience? Certainly it was an area with which I was quite unfamiliar the area, knowing only Barnetby as that was one of the places where my Dad and I would go and watch trains (and what would many of us give to see a parade of 31s, 37s, 47s, 56s and 60s again now?!). However these photos of my Dad’s are lovely reminders and the more I’ve learnt since about the area’s railways has almost enhanced my memories. And it’s probably why I get excited when I see Class 20s!