"An hourly service will be maintained between Manchester Airport, Sheffield, Doncaster and Cleethorpes. The vast majority of these will remain as direct services. Limited amends are planned, with customers for the 3:55pm between Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes and the 4:26pm Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport needing to change at Doncaster."
The 1555 from Manchester Airport departs Sheffield at 1716 and Doncaster at 1747 (1742 Sat, 1737 Sun) and therefore provides the main peak time service from South Yorkshire to the South Humber area. Both the 1555 and 1626 serve Grimsby Town, Barnetby and Scunthorpe en-route, and apart from the 1626 on Sunday's also serve Habrough. For Habrough it will mean no through departure from Manchester Airport between 1355 and 1855, and no through departure to Manchester Airport between 1444 and 1744. It's not clear if the proposed changes affect just weekdays, Monday to Saturdays, or every day.
TransPennine Express have provided justification as follows:
"We and Government recognises the importance of direct trains to Manchester Airport from Cleethorpes, Grimsby and other communities in the area. However, by splitting one service per day at Doncaster, we can better match train capacity to demand, by using a longer train West of Doncaster and a shorter train East of Doncaster. We have been able to protect all other through services. The key reason for this is to ensure that we do not have a two -car 170 turning up at Sheffield or Manchester in the peaks."
When you are in a tricky situation difficult decisions have to made, and a connection will be available at Doncaster. However what needs to be ensured is that this is not the 'thin end of the wedge'. There was recently a very strong, and successful, campaign to stop all through services between the South Humber Area and Manchester being withdrawn. Plan B shouldn't be to try again to do this, but this time one service at a time. Plan B should be to focus on providing an hourly Cleethorpes-Manchester Airport through services 7 days a week (and give Habrough a consistent two hourly or better stopping pattern).