EMR Remembers Billy Butlin....the man who put Skegness on the map

Sunday, 19 January 2020

A precious moment of Lincolnshire’s glorious history will be recreated on Thursday 23 January in a ceremony and gathering at Skegness railway station. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

An East Midlands Railway Class 158 diesel unit, which provides reliable and comfortable travel on the Poacher Line from Nottingham, will be named ‘ELR50 – Visit East Lincolnshire in 2020’. This marks the launch of a two-month festival in several towns later this year to celebrate the enormous impact the railways have had on the region over the last century and a half.

Back in 1927, a youthful businessman and entrepreneur Sir Billy Butlin clambered off a train from London, and within a few hours decided that Skegness was the town for him to set up shop. He opened an amusement park, and within a few years had created the world famous holiday park that thrives to this day and still bears his name.

October 2020 will be the 50th anniversary of British Railways’ infamous axeman Dr Richard Beeching shutting virtually all of East Lincolnshire’s railway routes. Sir Billy, who died in 1980, is credited with keeping the line from the East Midlands to Boston and Skegness alive. Today, the route is still a vital and valued communications lifeline for the East Coast; packed with holidaymakers throughout the year.

To mark the anniversary, a series of special railway events – to be known as ‘ELR50’ - are being staged across the East Lincolnshire area in Skegness, Mablethorpe, Louth, Sutton-on-Sea and Wainfleet.

The nameplates for the Class 158 train will be unveiled by Sir Billy Butlin’s present day successor, Chris Baron, Manager of the Skegness holiday centre. Invited guests will toast the train with a glass of special celebration ale from another home-grown Lincolnshire institution, Bateman's Brewery, from just down the road at Wainfleet.

The nominated Class 158 unit will be arriving at Skegness from Nottingham at 12.58pm on Thursday 23 January, and after the short ceremony will depart at 13.15.

For more information on the commemorative events taking place across the area visit https://elr50c.co.uk/