“I won’t be going again on the Slow Train.
On the main line and the goods’ siding the grass grows high
At Dog Dyke….”
Dogdyke (1849-1963) was built by the Great Northern Railway on a line that linked Boston and Lincoln. It served the hamlet of Dogdyke and it is the second station in the song in Lincolnshire.
The Boston to Lincoln line followed the River Witham for some of the way. It closed in 1963 (although the part north of Woodhall Junction was retained until 1970) but has since been rehabilitated as a walking / cycle path which follows some of the old track bed of the line, albeit not at Dogdyke. The path is marketed as the “Water Rail Way”.
The X on the map shows the approximate location of the station in relation to the current British railway network. The nearest open station is Boston 11.7 miles away. The approximate position of some of the closed railways in Lincolnshire have been added in red.
The red dot on the map below shows the approximate location of the station in relation to the local area.
Services: Past, Present & Future?
The service in 1958 consisted of 7 trains each way. The journey to Boston took about 20 minutes whilst Lincoln was around a 40-minute trip.
Today there is a bus from nearby Coningsby which reaches Lincoln in about 90 minutes.
There have been some calls to reopen the Boston to Lincoln line, effectively restoring the link between the largest and fifth largest settlements in the county. Even if it eventually happens though it is highly unlikely that tiny hamlet of Dogdyke would ever get its station back.
The station site was easy enough to find just below the confluence point of the River Witham and the River Bain. The track bed follows the River Witham on the eastern bank here and the station was just south of a bridge over the River Bain.
Part of that bridge was still clearly visible when viewed from the opposite side of the Witham.
Nothing appeared to remain of the station itself, but the stationmaster’s house, now a private dwelling, was still standing.
There were also some old warehouse and corn mill buildings visible that were apparently once served by a siding off the railway.
Although Dogdyke itself is nothing but a small hamlet, the area around about is certainly not lacking in interest.
To the east of the stationmaster’s house was a static caravan park, now sitting on the old track bed. According to a man who was painting a sign near the entrance, it was occupied by many retired people. With the riverside location and the quiet setting, it certainly didn’t seem like a bad place to be.
Pretty much opposite where the station would have once stood was now a modern pub: The Packet Inn. The pub had a garden with a view out onto the river and its name, I later learned, came from the little ships that used to sail up and down the river linking Lincoln to Boston before the coming of the railway.
Close by was the Belle Isle Marina which looked closed up but obviously did business in the summer renting out boats for cruising along the river and further afield. We had a little wander around the yard but met no one. There was quite a variety of craft lined up at the water’s edge including some canal narrow boats.
Further along the river (towards Lincoln) was a building housing a beam engine that used to work draining the surrounding land. It is known as the “Dogdyke Engine” and although it only dates from the 19th century itself, there has been a drainage pumping station here since the 16th century.
The surrounding land must be fertile because the area is dotted with farms. Just up the road from the old station we found a small stall selling leeks and asparagus. It was just a short distance south from the RAF base at Coningsby and its produce was being marketed at “Bomber County”. We bought some asparagus and back at home enjoyed it grilled, salted, and dipped in butter, delicious.
There is no way to cross the Witham at Dogdyke, so we went north to the Tattershall, which was the next station in the Lincoln direction. Before crossing the river, we had a quick diversion to look at Tattershall Castle, a structure that was rebuilt, unusually in brick, in the mid-15th Century. Today it is in the care of the National Trust.
We crossed the Witham to the west of Tattershall on the new bridge (A153) which afforded us a good view of the picturesque old bridge just to the south. Now on the west bank of the river, we went south until we were opposite the site of Dogdyke once again.
We noticed some cows that had ventured down to the river and stood for a while watching them. It was a lovely tranquil late spring evening scene, although I could not help thinking the sight of steam gently puffing from a train as it passed by in the background would have made it better.