Tribute to 'driving force' behind Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway who made Princess smile

Tributes have been paid to the 'driving force' behind the restoration of the historic 1903 steam locomotive Jurassic on the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway.

Paul Walkinshaw shares a joke with HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, after driving the locomotive No. 1 Paul, on the Royal Train operated by the LCLR during her visit to the line and the Skegness Water Leisure Park in 2017. Paul Walkinshaw shares a joke with HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, after driving the locomotive No. 1 Paul, on the Royal Train operated by the LCLR during her visit to the line and the Skegness Water Leisure Park in 2017. Photo courtesy of Skegness Water Leisure Park.

On the LCLR Paul Walkinshaw who died on May 7 aged 79, was one of a select group of drivers who could handle a 1926 bow-frame Motor Rail “Simplex” diesel, also called Paul, which requires “careful” operation.

He drove Paul on the Royal Train operated by the LCLR when HRH The Princess Royal, Princess

Anne, visited the line in 2017 and the photo of them sharing a joke is one of the enduring images of his long involvement with the railway.

Paul was the treasurer of the railway’s charitable Historic Vehicles Trust and owner of the steam locomotive Effie on the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway.

Born in Grimsby, he was the younger son of Jack and Jill Walkinshaw.

Jack was a marine engineer and a keen model engineer, a founder member of the Grimsby Model Engineering Society.

Paul, soon learning from his father, produced his first steam model, a 3½” gauge locomotive of the type known as Tich, while still in the Sixth Form of Wintringham School in

Grimsby. He became a member of the Saracen’s Head group of model engineers and exhibited at the Spalding Model Show.

His father had a boat at the Humber Mouth Yacht Club and as a “sweetener” to get Paul to help crew it, he would drop him off at the LCLR’s North Sea Lane station to catch the

train to its terminus at South Sea Lane.

Paul’s interest, however, turned to the LCLR rather than the water, and he became a youthful volunteer, quickly making his mark.

He studied mechanical engineering at Nottingham Trent University as a sponsored student with British Steel and did much of his practical experience at their Appleby Frodingham site in Scunthorpe.

Meanwhile, Paul’s involvement with the LCLR continued to grow.

He became a shareholder, then while in his early twenties , a director of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway Company Ltd. In 1983, when the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway Historic

Vehicles Trust was founded to conserve some of the more historically-significant vehicles which had become surplus at Humberston, he became treasurer – a post he held

continuously until his death.

The Trust’s Chairman, Richard Shepherd, describes Paul's contribution to the LCLR as “huge and invaluable”.

Traction engines were another of Paul’s steam interests and he was the owner of a Fowler 4 nhp tractor, named Iron Ada, reg. AF 7718, for a number of years. He took this to a number of steam rallies in Lincolnshire.

Paul’s fascination with working steam power took him around the world: to Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba (twice), the USA, Burma (now Myanmar), Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India and on the Khyber Pass Railway in Pakistan, where armed troops provided protection against hostile

tribesmen.

Indeed it was during his travels in Burma, that in Rangoon (now Yangon) he met his future partner, Barbara Reid.

He also travelled extensively in search of working steam throughout Europe, to Romania, Poland, Ukraine, France, Germany, Austria and Spain.

His passion for historic vehicles extended to classic cars – a Morris Minor known as Maxwell which he renovated and a Triumph Stag: Glenda.

After working in the frozen food industry, Paul worked for many years for the Scottish transport and logistics company, Christian Salvesen, as an engineer and plant manager. He

eventually took early retirement due to ill health, brought about by an industrial accident some years earlier.

For the last 22 years of his life, Paul and Barbara lived in Northborough, near Peterborough, where he had a large workshop which enabled him not only to pursue his model

engineering, but also cabinet making, which he had studied after retirement, at West Dean College in Sussex.

Those who knew him described the standard of his workmanship as “superb”.

Paul was a volunteer with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for many years and worked part time as an archivist, for the erstwhile Lincolnshire Museums Service.

His railway interests encompassed membership of The Heywood Society, which studies the minimum gauge railways devised by the late Sir Arthur Heywood, owning a replica of one of Sir Arthur’s designs, Effie.

He built a wooden tender to increase water capacity, placing

Effie on loan to the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway. It was typical of Paul’s generosity that he gifted it to them shortly before his death.

He had also bought a Motor Rail “Simplex” diesel locomotive, which had survived inundation in the East Coast Floods of 1953, ending its working life at the former Skegness Brickworks.

Paul donated it to the LCLR’s Historic Vehicles Trust. He was involved in the 20+years project to restore it to working order, for which the railway was awarded runner-up status in two categories in the 2021 “Railway Oscars”: the Heritage Railway Association Annual Awards.

He also built a new metal body for another of the LCLR’s Simplexes, Wilton, to replace the wooden body with which it had been fitted after acquisition by the LCLR from Humberston Brickworks.

Paul remained closely involved with the LCLR after its initial closure in 1985. He would drive three hours from his home to the Museum of Army Transport Transport in Beverley,

where the Trust’s collection was housed, so he could work on the wagons.

Friends teased that was only to enjoy the particularly good lunch available in its canteen!

When the LCLR relocated to the Skegness Water Leisure Park around 1995, he regularly made the long journey there to help towards the reopening, which took place in 2009.

It was, though, the LCLR’s beautiful little steam engine Jurassic, that was his passion. She had been built in Bristol in 1903 for a Warwickshire cement company and was acquired by the Lincolnshire line in the year of Paul’s birth. He organised and oversaw her extensive overhaul to working order in 2015 – 2017, again the subject of a runners-up award in the “Railway Oscars”.

The success of this restoration did give him time to enjoy working on and driving Jurassic, but as his fellow volunteers at the LCLR have observed, for nowhere long

enough.

Jurassic will remain as a memorial to Paul’s vision, determination and skill for generations to come.

Paul has requested that after cremation at Alford, his ashes should be scattered at the LCLR .

He is survived by his partner Barbara, his brother Steven, and all the members of the LCLR “family”.