Friday, 31 July 2009

Speeding up Barton-Cleethorpes train services

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.


LEYTR said...

The Friends of The Barton Line are not its friends at all if they were the ones to suggest the omission of three stations along its route in favour of a faster end-to-end journey time.

The line has Community Rail status and by removing these stops from all but one or two journeys per day flies in the face of this status.

Elsewhere in the UK, Community Rail Partnerships, similar to the so-called Friends of The Barton Line, have identified the best way to improve end-to-end journey times is by getting their local MPs on board and to lobby both the DfT and Network Rail about track improvements - NEVER have we come across the omission of the smallest, most dependant stations as a suitable quick-fix.

And of course it'll undoubtedly mean the beginning of the end for the affected calling points.

As a community line, the priority must surely be on the communities through which the line passes, not the travelling masses living in the terminal towns. There is more than one way to travel direct between Barton and Cleethorpes, but for many stations along the Barton Line, the train offers the only meaningful solution.

Removing that solution can only hamper growth in the areas the line should be looking.

It's a very poor show indeed and may we be the first to join the "i told you so" queue.

Humber Transport said...

The proposal was from BCCRP, not the Friends of the Barton Line. Sorry if I caused any confusion with my original post.