During the early 1990s the Barton line suffered several severe blows; the service frequency was halved from hourly to two-hourly, the Sunday service was cut back from running throughout the year to just four months in the summer, and some of the connections with the long distance services at Habrough were removed. It was these alarming and insidious cuts to the service that led to the formation of the Friends of the Barton Line in 1998 to campaign for a return to a decent service. Since then the retrogression has, we hope, been arrested and we have started to see some improvements.

To view FBL's Constitution click here.

To view FBL's General Data Protection Regulation statement click here.

In order also to raise the profile of the line the Friends have organised, over the years, an extensive miscellany of activities and events and there has been a gratifying, if modest, increase in the patronage of the line. Below is a fairly comprehensive list of the good things which have happened (most, but not all we hasten to add, as a direct result of our own efforts). This is followed by a list of our outstanding aspirations, and lastly is a list of our many benefactors without whom our efforts would have been an even harder slog.


The following projects, many of them ongoing, have involved or been organised by FBL:

Celebrated the sesquicentenary of the line with the mayors of Barton and Cleethorpes.

Held a railway exhibition at Baysgarth museum with NLC museums service.

Re-instated the 110 mile post at Barton with Railtrack.

Celebrated the sesquicentenary of Barrow Haven station.

Obtained grants to a total value of around £10,000.

Produced our own book mark (1998), line guide (1999), Christmas card (2003), calendar (2005), Rail Ale guide (2008), badge, fridge magnet, sticker, and key fobs for both Barton and Cleethorpes.

Created and maintained a web site on our own domain.

Produced regular articles for Telegraph Trains.

Issued bulletins to the Bartonian.

Written articles for the Barton Civic Society newsletter.

Interviewed several times by BBC Radio Humberside.

Interviewed on BBC TV Look North.

Distributed timetables to outlets along the line.

Chaired the committee of the Eastern Parishes Public Transport Partnership.

Produced the report Bolstering the Barton Line.

Created the Barton Cleethorpes Community Rail Partnership.

Opposed proposals for skip-stops.

Represented on Barton Civic Dinners and Civic Services.

Attended regional railway conferences and receptions.

Submitted representations to Government departments.

Attended appointments with local MPs.

Manned information stalls and tombolas.

Conducted several surveys.

Built up an archive of documents and artifacts.

Been active on the Station Adoption Scheme.

Maintained certain station gardens.

Planted trees, with the Civic Society, at Barton station.

Ran annual Santa and Easter Specials.

Ran Stagger Specials to real ale inns along the line.

Ran Music Trains.

Had several poems written about the line.

Supported walks between stations along the line with local rambler groups.

Showed a feature film at Barton Rope Walk.

Held various illustrated talks.

Gave presentations to local groups.

Created a digital story of the Barton line.

Played a part in Barton Victorian Days.

Held lunches to mark the annual start and end of the Sunday service.

Held New Year dinners.

Visited signal boxes at Oxmarsh, Ulceby, Roxton Sidings, Wrawby, Hull and Beverley.

Visited behind the scenes at Hull Paragon station and railway offices at York and Manchester.

Several times visited New Holland pier and dock.

Organised a guided tour of Barton.

Taken a speedboat trip on the Humber.

Visited Waltham Museum & Craft Centre, Lincolnshire Wolds railway, Gainsborough, Mr Straw’s house at Worksop, the Sheffield Tap, the Hope valley, Chesterfield canal, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht railway museum and Brugge, Saltaire.


The Barton Line has benefited from the following, more or less in chronological order, many at the request or behest of the Friends of the Barton Line:

New shelters at Barton and Habrough stations.

New platforms at Barton and Goxhill stations (but the one at Barton was shortened and not really necessary).

Exclusive FBL poster frames at Cleethorpes, Grimsby Town and Habrough stations.

All Class 153 train units refurbished.

Flower tubs at various stations.

Signal boxes revamped.

Much new fencing installed along the line.

Public telephones provided at most stations.

Cheap Day Return and Duo fares from many stations.

Line guide pamphlets by FBL, Northern Spirit and Northern Rail.

Stations repainted.

Natural environment and lighting improved at Barton interchange plus CCTV cameras.

Finger posts and town map at Barton interchange.

Descriptive map of the line installed at all Northern stations.

Restored heritage LNER running-in boards at Thornton Abbey station.

Frequency of bus link at Barton Interchange to Hull and Scunthorpe doubled to half-hourly.

New signage and additional poster frames at all Northern stations.

Local street plans, amenities, bus routes & times, taxi numbers, etc. displayed at all stations.

New lifts and foot bridge at Grimsby Town station.

Comprehensive cycle facilities at Grimsby Town station.

Provision of maps and signs showing the calling point of rail replacement buses at all stations along the Barton line.

Real-time Customer Information screens at Habrough, Stallingborough and Healing stations.

Easier Access Areas (Harrington Humps) at Great Coates and Thornton Abbey stations.

Eight bright new platform lights installed at New Clee station and the consequent lifting of the restriction to daylight only calls.

All bar one Trans Pennine Express service now calls at Habrough (railhead for Immingham, Killingholme and Humberside airport).

Stations announced on the trains.

Better explanations given for delays and cancellations.

New signage, seating, poster cases and repainted railings at all stations plus repaired fencing where required by EMR.


Station buildings and foot bridge demolished at Habrough.


In addition to maintaining a high level of service reliability and keeping vandalism and anti-social behaviour under control, the Friends of the Barton Line would like to see the following improvements implemented on the Barton line - more or less in order of our perceived cost-benefit ratio:

Improved reliability of the trains / cascading of units from elsewhere.

A Barton Line rover fare.

Marketing and offers from Barton Line stations to destinations further afield (e.g. Lincoln, Meadowhall, Manchester).

Reintroduction of through ticketing between the Fastcat buses and the Barton trains.

Cycle lockers at Barton (on National Cycle Route No. 1), Habrough and Cleethorpes stations.

Improved gardens and floral displays at appropriate stations.

More CCTV at stations (Grimsby Docks is particularly prone to vandalism).

Real-time Customer Information screens and/or Long Line Public Address systems at stations which do not yet have them.

Easing of operating restrictions as promised in the line's designation of Community Route and Service status (e.g. lifting of the 09:30 peak fare threshold and shifting the delay penalty from Oxmarsh to Ulceby).

Finger posts to the stations at New Clee, Thornton Abbey and Barrow Haven stations.

Extension of Sunday services to include at least the Easter holiday, but preferably throughout the year.

The two-hourly services from Lincoln to call at all stations between Habrough and Grimsby Town and alternate with those from Barton to provide an hourly stopping service at those stations, and likewise in the reverse direction.

Reinstatement of hourly weekday services (this would make the service much more attractive and would greatly improve connections at Habrough).

Brick-built interchange facilities at Barton to incorporate a heated waiting area, public conveniences, newsagent cum ticket office, café and Tourist Information Office.

The creation of a wider Community Rail Partnership which encompasses the rail network bordered by Cleethorpes, Barton, Doncaster, Retford and Newark.

Re-doubling of the track between Cleethorpes and Grimsby Town (at least in part, say Cleethorpes to New Clee) to reduce the current frequent incidences of delayed trains holding up those trying to run on time.

Inducements for the reinstatement of rail freight from New Holland (N.H. Bulk Services and Howarth Timber Importers) and Barton (Falkland Way industrial estate).

Heritage stock (preferably light steam operated) on Summer Sundays which in turn would bring tourists to the many attractions within reach of the line.


The Friends of the Barton Line would like to record their gratitude to the following benefactors for their valued support:

Northern Spirit / Arriva Trains Northern / Northern Rail, Transpennine Express and East Midlands Railway for financial and general assistance.

Railtrack / Network Rail for the milepost reinstatement and signal box visits.

Rural Action North Lincolnshire for financial assistance.

Barton Town Council for financial assistance.

The Transport Research & Information Network for free professional advice.

Awards For All for the display equipment.

Humber & Wolds Rural Community Council for financial assistance.

North Lincolnshire Council for financial assistance.

Voluntary Action North Lincolnshire for administrative assistance.

The Lincolnshire Province of the Brethren of the Established Order of Freemsons for financial assistance.

Data-Linc Group for the Internet hardware.

Geoff Bryant for the scanner/printer.

English Heritage and the other partners of the South Humber Collection for substantial support with the Thornton Abbey running-in boards.

Barton Cleethorpes Community Rail Partnership for security measures at Barton interchange and maps of the line at stations.

The Railway Development Society / Railfuture for financial assistance.

The Barton Lions for financial and practical assistance, in particular with the Thornton Abbey running-in boards and the clearing of the old goods platform at Barton.

The Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph for abundant publicity.

The Great Central Railway Society for extensive support.

Proudfoot Superstore for promotional offers for rail travellers.

Various publicans of the White Swan, Charlie’s, Sloop and No.1 for hosting meetings.

David Wilson of the Station Inn at Habrough for free refreshments.

Mark Burton for professional tree felling on the old goods platform at Barton station.

Members of FBL for their extensive voluntary assistance and generous financial contributions.

In connection with the sesquicentenary celebrations of the Barton branch railway on 28th February and 1st March 1999:

The mayors and mayoresses of Barton upon Humber and North East Lincolnshire.

North Lincolnshire Museums Service for staging the railway exhibition at Baysgarth Museum from 3rd February 1999.

Aubrey Joinson and the Scunthorpe & District Model Railway Club for the model of Barton station.

Northern Spirit / Arriva Trains for the travel concessions, pamphlet and general assistance.

The Barton Regeneration Office for the musician on the train.

Barton Civic Society for the commemorative plaque.

Stephen Garfoot for the headboard on the train.

Stephen Gay for the 110 GCR milepost.

Keith Brook for the buffet.

Lindsey Relay for the loan of the video player and screen.

David Lee for the loan of the archive film.

Smith's Bakery for supplying the cake at cost price.

Brobot Petroleum for the chocolates.

The Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway for travel concessions.

The various exhibitors:

Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society.

Cleethorpes Model Railway Society.

Great Central Railway Society.

Grimsby - Louth Railway Preservation Society.

Mike Anable.

Northern Spirit.

Rail Correspondents and Travel Society.

Railway Development Society.


A big "Thank You!" to them all.