Bride inaugurates train after her father

Chris Bates, Peter Ryalls, Jim Smith, Maj Robins' daughters Rachel Foster and Sarah Ryalls. Photo: Dave Enefer/LCLR
Chris Bates, Peter Ryalls, Jim Smith, Maj Robins' daughters Rachel Foster and Sarah Ryalls. Photo: Dave Enefer/LCLR

A Bridlington bride postponed her honeymoon to inaugurate a historic railway locomotive named after her late father.

Sarah and Peter Ryalls married at Bridlington Register Office on Friday July 15 and planned to set off for their honeymoon in Rothbury, Northumberland, the following day.

But Sarah and her sister Rachel Foster were invited to be guests of honour at the Gala of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway in the Skegness Water Leisure Park.

They were asked to inaugurate the return to service of a historic railway locomotive, bearing its new name, Major J.A. Robins R.E, after their late father.

Sarah, who lives in Bridlington, said: “When we learned of the plan to name the locomotive after my father, we agreed we could not miss the occasion and so postponed our honeymoon to go to Skegness to see it and ride behind it.

“The nameplates look splendid and are a wonderful memorial to him and his career in the Army”.

The late Major “Tubby” Robins took on the role of President of the LCLR’s Historic Vehicles Trust, which was set up to preserve First World War trench railway vehicles surplus to the company’s needs and offered a home for them to be restored and displayed in the Museum of Army Transport in Beverley, nearly 35 years ago.

When the museum closed, the collection was moved to a member’s farm at North Somercotes, near Louth, and then to the LCLR’s base in the Skegness Water Leisure Park, where they’re on view to the public.

The Trust had nameplates cast and presented one to “Tubby” which was displayed at his funeral in Bridlington Priory last year.

Over the past few months, the locomotive has been repaired, renovated and repainted and specially cast nameplates “Major J.A. Robins R.E.” affixed.

Rachel, also of Bridlington. said: “I think Dad would be honoured by having the locomotive named after him. He would have been so impressed to see the Trust thriving and succeeding.

“It is wonderful his work continues in this way, with so much achieved”.

The nameplates had been applied to the “Simplex” locomotive built by Motor Rail Ltd of Bedford (as their works number 8874) for the War Department in 1944.

The 20 hp locomotive had been fitted with a wooden body when it was bought by the LCLR for use at its original site in Humberston near Grimsby, where it was named “Major”, regularly operating passenger services until closure in 1985.

When the line relocated to the Skegness Water Leisure Park and reopened in 2009, it was the locomotive which hauled the inaugural trains.

At the Gala, the locomotive was coupled to a First World War bogie wagon restored with a £43,000 grant to provide disabled access.