Tumby Woodside (1913-1970) is actually very close to Dogdyke, it was situated on a new line which was built just before the First World War by the Great Northern Railway. It is the last of three stations in Lincolnshire.
The “new railway” left the Lincoln-Boston line just north of Dogdyke at Kirkstead (renamed Woodhall Junction) and headed east across the flat Lincolnshire countryside towards Little Steeping on the Boston-Grimsby line.
The line was mainly provided as a way of shortening the route between Lincoln (and the North and Midlands beyond) and the resorts on the east coast such as Skegness, Sutton and Mablethorpe.
The new line had five intermediate stations including one at Coningsby, home of the large RAF airbase. The station at Tumby served the small hamlet located just to the east of Coningsby. The whole line closed in October 1970 when much of Lincolnshire, including Mablethorpe, Mumby Road and Sutton lost their railways too.
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 10.2 miles away.
The approximate position the Woodhall Junction-Little Steeping Line and some other closed railways in Lincolnshire have been added and are shown 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?
In 1958 the station was served by 3 or 4 trains a day. Most of these services were just linking Lincoln (50 minutes) with Skegness (60 minutes) but on a Saturday one train extended as far as Sheffield.
Today there is a bus from nearby Coningsby which takes around 90 minutes to reach Lincoln. There do not seem to be any plans for reopening the line.
The station site was easy enough to locate on the right-hand side of Station Road as it headed south from Mareham Le Fen just before the junction with Moorhouses road. It was just possible to make out the course of the railway by the line of the trees to the left as we headed south.
There used to be a level crossing here controlled by a signal box, but nothing remains of either. There seemed to be no remains of the station platforms, but the old booking office still stood, and it was now a private dwelling. A building, possibly the stationmaster’s house, also stood on the opposite side of the road.
Away from the station site there was not an awful lot to Tumby, just a few houses, and a farm. It was certainly not an unattractive spot; set in typical flat Lincolnshire countryside, but it is difficult to think how such a place could ever have sustained a station, even in the “carless” days before the First World War.
Although they were never connected directly by rail, Tumby would have been a relatively easy walk from the previous station visited at Dogdyke. The journey would have taken you through a little hamlet with a big name: New York. Passing through it today, I wondered if any American tourists have ever stopped to get a picture next to the sign.
The next station from Tumby towards Lincoln was Coningsby, home of the Second World War airfield. It is still an RAF station today and the base of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. There were places for plane spotters to park and signs for them to stand. Even the little road had warning lights to prepare the easily distracted motorist of an impending take or landing.
The whole area around here was filled with bomber stations during the war and the skies above were filled with Lancaster and Halifax bombers heading out or returning from raids over Nazi Germany. If you have read anything of the history of Bomber Command, you will recognise many of village names around here as the names of airfields.
Just to the east of Tumby is East Kirkby; another former RAF base and home to one of Lincolnshire’s many aviation museums. There was a memorial at the gate which included a moving poem written from the perspective of the old airfield as it lies silent and remembers “its metal birds and long dead men”. It was credited to W Scott of 630 Squadron. East Kirby was not completely silent though; inside one of the hangers they were restoring an old Lancaster to flying condition.
Back at Coningsby I wandered into the graveyard next to a little church at the edge of the airfield. Given that many of Coningsby’s bomber crews were lost flying over Europe, there were comparatively few graves here. But there were a few, presumably from crashes and accidents, and among them were young Brits, Canadians, Australians and one grave with a headstone dedicated just to an airman of the 1939-45 war.
When these men were alive and based here, the railway system of this part of Lincolnshire would have been still very much thriving. It is not difficult to imagine them arriving at Coningsby returning from leave or standing on the platform with their mates waiting for a train to take them on a drinking trip to the pubs of Lincoln. Some of them may even have cycled past the old station and signal box at Tumby Woodside.