The latest minutes from the Friends of the Barton Line (FoBL) rail user group report a proposal from the Barton-Cleethorpes Community Rail Partnership (BCCRP) to remove stops at Barrow Haven, Thornton Abbey and New Clee from the following Barton to Cleethorpes services: 0958/1158/1358/2158 from Barton and 1100/1300/1500/2100 from Cleethorpes. This would be on Mondays to Fridays for a six month trial period with an aim to increase passenger numbers.
FoBL are opposing this seeing it as the beginning of the end for the three stations. As posted earlier this month, they are three of the least used stations in Yorkshire and the Humber. The number of people affected by the change would be small.
However would the move be worth it? The journey time from Barton to Cleethorpes is about 51 minutes, and 48-49 minutes in the other direction. From Barton to Grimsby just over 40 minutes. You would struggle to travel significantly faster by car, and the bus is a lot longer at over an hour between Barton and Grimsby. So the train is relatively fast as it is.
Then how much time would you save omitting three stations? Currently trains omitting New Clee save one minute. So omitting Barrow Haven and Thornton Abbey as well might save 5 minutes at most. Is it worth inconviencing the few users of the three stations for a small time saving to an already fairly fast train service?
Perhaps a better move would be to try and promote the three stations, especially Thornton Abbey in the summer to serve Abbey that gives the station it's name, and New Clee for the adjacent Ramsdens superstore. If the change happens New Clee will only be served on weekdays by the 0900 from Cleethorpes and 0800 from Barton. Useless.
I can see why the idea would be proposed - it costs nothing. But there are other priorities for the Barton Line - better connections at Habrough, extended Sunday services.
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