Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Transport for the North Proposals for the Humber

I never got round to covering this at the time, but last year (2019), Transport for the North released various reports containing suggestions for how to improve the north's transport network. Below are some of the ideas covering the Humber area and I have tried to leave out those which are already confirmed as going ahead. Not much in the way of detail or timelines though and then there is the issue of funding the ideas.

New Station Between Habrough and Barnetby

The suggestion that caught my attention the most was the idea of a new station between Habrough and Barnetby, listed under the outcome of "Improve access to International Gateways in the Southern Pennines SDC". That could indicate the new station is meant to serve Immingham Docks, but Habrough does that and Immingham Docks is only an international gateway for freight, or it could be a reference to the Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport TransPennine Express (TPE) service calling at the potential new station. The other option though is that the new station would be sited near Humberside Airport.

Leaving Humberside Airport aside for a minute, there probably is not the need for a new station if it wasn't for the constraints on expanding parking at Barnetby station. Barnetby is ideally sited as a parkway station being close to the A15, A18, A180 and M180; however there is limited room for extra parking and access involves travelling through parts of the residential area of the village and then up a narrow lane to the station. Making more use of Habrough station, which started last month as almost all TPE services now call there, can potentially help if all Immingham area passengers now use Habrough rather than Barnetby, but Habrough is very unlikely to be attractive for potential users from say Brigg or Caistor.

So long term there maybe a need for a new station. Unless a new station is built at Wrawby Junction with a new access road from the A18 which would be very expensive, then there will be a need to look east of Barnetby, or accept that a new station could not serve the Lincoln and Brigg lines. Taking the latter option, which it does not seem is under consideration in any case, where the Wrawby Junction to Scunthorpe line crosses the A18 between Wrawby and Barnetby could be a potential new station location, but the railway is in a cutting here from what I recall, so again a new station would be expensive. Elsham station could be reopened, but road access would not be good from the likes of Caistor.

East of Barnetby the logical location to me would be where the railway crosses the A18, which happens to be in the vicinity of Humberside Airport. Such a location could form a parkway station not only for local villages but even for customers as far away as Louth who could travel on the A16/A18 to access the station. There could also be very limited commuter use for the airport business park and Singleton Birch at Melton Ross. It's not perfect though; the airport terminal would be slightly beyond walking distance, not that the airport would likely generate many rail passengers, and any traffic from the west (e.g. Brigg) would have to travel through Melton Ross village on the A18 to access the site. As such I expect any new station would be a reliever for Barnetby, not a replacement.

Services between Hull and Doncaster

For future services between Hull and Doncaster the following is suggested:
  • 1 per hour Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) fast service via Selby
  • 2 per hour 'conventional' fast services via Selby
  • 1 per hour stopping service via Goole
At present there are two services an hour via Goole and some hours a further service via Selby (mostly provided via Hull Trains). The extra services between Hull and Doncaster are welcome, but what about Goole that currently has a fast service every hour as well as the stopping service? The idea could be to add a Goole to Doncaster stopping service and/or have a regular Hull-Goole-Pontefract-Leeds service, which could mitigate for the loss of the current fast service via Goole, but that is just speculation on my part.

Other Rail Possibilities

Other ideas mentioned, all of which sound positive:
  • Gauge enhancements and journey time improvements between Hull Docks and Selby for railfreight
  • Hull to Scarborough journey time and frequency improvements
  • Hull to York service improvements (further details not specified)
  • An 'additional NPR service' between Cleethorpes, Doncaster and Sheffield. Does that imply the current TPE service between Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport will be part of NPR (hopefully so), hence a second service between Cleethorpes and Sheffield being an additional NPR service? 
  • Journey time and capacity improvements between Cleethorpes and Doncaster - this is listed under 'before 2027' in the proposed investment programme (table 3)
Road Suggestions

I don't usually cover road schemes on here, but quickly some of the road schemes suggested for the Humber area:
  • A63 relief route
  • A63 technology improvements
  • A63/A1033 junction improvements (unspecified as what the improvements would be)
  • New M62 junctions between Goole and Selby (locations not specified)
  • A1079 Hull to York improvements (unspecified)
  • Dualling the A164 between the Humber Bridge and Willerby - this would then link up with the existing dual carriageway between Willerby and Castle Hill Hospital.
  • A180 upgrade (unspecified) 
  • Grimsby western relief road
  • 'A15 junctions (A63 to M180) including A1077 improvements' - presumably something is being worked up for the section of the A15 between the Humber Bridge and Barnetby Top, as well as for the A1077
  • A15 improvements (unspecified) between the M180 and Lincoln

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