The North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership have proposed that alternate services between Sheffield and Gainsborough Central be extended to Barton, giving a two hourly service. For details of the proposal, please see:


The chair of the NNLCRP has requested letters of support to him by 19th June at


Whilst we clearly won't have a committee meeting to discus this proposal before 19th June, I do intend submitting a response from FBL. I would welcome any comments from members, or of course members may feel free to submit their own responses to Barry. Please do feel free to contact me either on the message board or by email to if you have any points you wish to be included in the FBL response.

Posted by HumberTransport on

I'm not convinced this is a viable idea. It has the hallmark of divising a proposal to fit a funding scheme (reopening your railway) rather than coming up with a sustainable long term service. 

Firstly I think trying to make the Barton branch anything other than a local service to Cleethorpes is trying to re-invent the wheel. Anyone from Barton wanting to catch a longer distance service has a variety of options, principally:

-Travel by car (or taxi/CallConnect) to Barnetby, approx 15 minutes. 

-Travel by car to Doncaster, around an hour but higher frequency of trains to certain destinations such as London

-Travel by car to Brough, approx 15-20 minutes, maybe attractive for certain destinations served non-stop such as Manchester and London

-Travel by bus to Hull, approx 30 minutes, not the quickest route but excellent indoor waiting facilities

Any rail service from Barton to Barnetby will take around 33 minutes (based on Barton to Ulceby at 23 minutes, and Habrough (used as a proxy for Ulceby) to Barnetby around 10 minutes). Then for those needing to change onto a connecting service, there is waiting time to factor in, maybe short or long, but is easier to 'control' when travelling by car and you can time what time you leave home, and upon return can travel home immediatley rather than waiting for a connection. Lets say there is a 10 minute connection at Barnetby for Barton, that would be 43 minutes from getiing off the connecting service to Barnetby to arriving at Barton Station, over double how long it would take a car traveller.

I just can't see how running to Barnetby and beyond is ever going to be competitive for most longer distance Barton travellers, especially those with a car. The geography works against it, having to go via Ulceby. Plus for those who do wish to use the Barton Line for longer distance travel can change at Habrough, which is served by (almost) all Barnetby services now. I appreciate the proposal would offer hourly rather than 2 hourly connecting opportunities, but what is being proposed in terms of one-change connections such as Lincoln isn't new, it already exists, just it would be enhanced.

Admittedly from the villages the train may become more competitive, but in relation to Barrow which is mentioned in the proposal, with the station away from the main village, that limits it's usefulness. Anyone wishing to use the train has to travel by car, bike, taxi, CallConnect or lift to get to the station, by which time by car/taxi/CallConnect they could be haflway to Barnetby. 

Could a Barton-Barnetby-beyond service serve Ulceby in both direction?

To me the focus has to be on the enhancing the main Barton to Cleethorpes service where the geography of the route is logical for the service.

Also I would question just how much demand exists from anywhere on the Barton line to stations on the Brigg Line, or for connections to Lincoln. The main demand from Barton is to Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby, plus Cleethorpes in the Summer, skewing more towards Grimsby/Cleethorpes as the line heads east. There just aren't the connections between the Barton area and Gainsborough or Bassetlaw. Even Lincoln, how many people go there more than a few times a year from Barton, if that? Likewise the centre of Sheffield? Even after allowing for stimulation of demand, passenger volumes I suspect would be low.

Brigg may generate some demand, but journey time would be similar to the bus, the station in Brigg isn't fantastically located, the Barton to Brigg bus service has never carried many passengers, schools traffic aside, even when it was hourly. The draft new NLC local plan did mention a Barton-Barnetby-Brigg bus which seems a far better, in terms of speed and cost, way of 'fixing' any connectivity issues between Barton and Barnetby/Brigg. A Barton to Brigg bus via Barnetby would take half an hour at most, compared to a 42-3 minute train journey.

A Barton-Retford service would offer a one-stop London connection, but at only every two hours it will struggle to compete with travel from Hull or Brough, or driving to Doncaster for the frequency. There isn't a one-stop Barton to London train connection, but Hull does offer a one-stop public transport connection. Similarly Sheffield has connecting service opportunities, but it would be slightly over 2 hours from Barton via Retford with only a 2 hourly frequency. Barnetby-Sheffield on TPE is around 70 minutes on an hourly frequency for those able to access Barnetby.

Switching this to look at the Brigg Line, Cleethorpes would be a far better destination in that there may at least be a little more demand from the Brigg Line to Grimsby/Cleethorpes than to Barton. I'd start with improving the Saturday service up to 4 services and go from there as again there are not significant links between Bassetlaw and Gainsborough on one hand and North East Lincolnshire on the other. Even Brigg doesn't have that many connections with North East Lincolnshire on a day to day basis. Saturdays are an ideal day to service the route with Cleethorpes tourists and Saturday shoppers.

The other thing an enhanced Cleethorpes-Gainsborough-Sheffield service could do is serve some or all off New Clee/Grimsby Docks/Great Coates/Healing/Stallingborough. Geography doesn't work against a longer distance service here, and the increased frequency into Grimsby and Cleethorpes may generate some additional local demand.

Posted by TomIrvin on

HT, thanaks for your thoughts. I do share many of your concerns.


On the positive, providing an hourly service on the Barton branch would benefit the reasonably well used flows from Goxhill and New Holland to Barton.


Providing a regurar service for Kirton Lindsey and Brigg is also clearly a positive. However, I would imagine that whilst their main transport demand is to Scunthorpe, secondly to Lincoln, which is always going to served better by omnibus services than by changing trains at Barnetbyin terms of journeys that could be offered by the railway travel to Sheffield (which is provided by this service), Meadowhall, Grimsby and Cleethorpes would all be more popular than Barton, indeed the low loadings on the 450 bus service demonstrate the lack of Barton - Brigg demand.


In terms of connections off the Barton branch, ,Habrough provides an easy level access connection. I would imagine the time saving for passengers changing for a Lincoln or Doncaster train would be in the region of 5 minutes, in reality they would almost certainly end up on the same train either way.


The benefits of the connection to Humberside Airport at Barnetby are in my opinion overstated. The passenger numbers at the Airport are low to start with. Anybody travelling from Barton by public transport would just catch the 250, similarly anybody from Brigg would catch the Wolds Villager. Sheffield has a direct rail service to Manchester and Birmingham Airports. I imagine that the number of people from the other intermediate villages travelling to Humberside Airport by any means to be negligible.


In terms of London connections at Retford, if timed right I could see people using it.


For those making long distance journeys off the branch in general, it will all boil down to personal preference. Unless actually going to Brigg, Retford etc, I can't see that there is much to choose between changing at Habrough or Barnetby, you would almost certainly be on the same trains either way.

Travelling throughout by train has the advantage of one through fare, in many cases at the same price as it would be from Barnetby and if one leg goes wrong the railway are obliged to get you to your destination.

Going by car to a railhead, for those with the option, will be quicker but has the associated fuel and now parking costs at either Barnetby or Hull, together with the risk of struggling to get a space at the former.

Using the Call Connect bus will have a cost for many and journey time will be variable. Certainly from villages such as Barrow and Thornton Curtis this must be a winning option.

Using Humberlink to Hull is probably quicker for some journeys, especially if going via York or Leeds. Certainly during the day good connections are guaranteed, it is just a shame there is no period return fare. Indeed, really this could do with having rail tickets accepted on it.


As for the suggestion of an express bus to Brigg / Barnetby, I wonder if this could be a use of the short 250 workings, which in their current form carry fresh air between Barton and the Airport. They could perhaps extend to Brigg and either them or the through Cleethorpes services could divert via Barnetby.

Posted by HumberTransport on

I suspect Hull-Barton-Brigg even without serving Barnetby would be at or very slightly over an hour each way, so couldn't be done with 2 vehicles on an hourly frequency, or if it could be done, there would be no recovery time. The 'shorts' had 42 minutes between leaving Barton Market Place en-route to the airport and returning. Barton to Brigg and back non-stop in 42 minutes, yes, but add in hopefully some stops for passengers and any waits at traffic lights in Brigg, and 42 minutes seems like being far too close for comfort. 

Hull to Cleethorpes is timed at 1 hour 52 minutes and Cleethorpes to Hull at 2 hours, so no time to divert to Barnetby on all journeys without either an extra vehicle being used or a frequency cut. When Barnetby was served once a day it took advantage of peak time variations. The morning service was the vehicle from the peak time journey into Grimsby that didn't extend to Cleethorpes, and then started 'short' from Grimsby to return to Hull. This 'short working' created some slack in the timetable so the Grimsby to Hull 'short' could leave Grimsby earlier and serve Barnetby before getting back onto 'standard pattern' at Barton. The afternoon service from Hull that went via Barnetby had a longer turnaround on arrival at Cleethorpes due to the slightly over an hour gap mid-afternoon in Cleethorpes departures; this time was used to serve Barnetby. This 'slack' was reintroduced into the timetable when Barnetby was dropped from the service.

and consequetly 


was the first off peak service that starts short from Grimsby, and consequently ran 10 minutes earlier

and the afternoon service took advantage of the slightly over an hour gap from Cleethorpes later afternoon

Posted by HumberTransport on

Sorry about those last three lines, forgot to delete!

Posted by TomIrvin on

The Brigg Line Group have published an alternative proposal for a regular service from Cleethorpes to Worksop.


North Lincolnshire Council have submitted a bid for goverment money to conduct a feasibility study into the NNLCRP scheme.

Posted by TomIrvin on

The North Lincs Council / North Notts and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership bid for funding for the feasibility study into extending the Sheffield - Gainsborough Central service through to Barton has been successful.

Posted by Anthony Berridge on

That's good to know, though I'm intrigued to see how a business case will be made, but having a Local Authority on your side can work wonders.

Some of the other projects on the DfT's list are even more optimistic.


Posted by TomIrvin on

I think the main selling point seems to be the low capital cost.


I too think it will struggle to make a business case, especially as the Brigg - Barton omnibus service has recently been withdrawn. That said, I don't think we should stand in the way of the scheme, it is an opportunity to sell the benefits of a service on the north end of the Barton Line and it would be good to see a proper railway service provided to Brigg and Kirton Lindsey once again. Perhaps the feasibility study will consider other ways in which these aims can be acheived.


I agree about the optimism of some of these schemes. Melton Mowbray - Nottingham would require the relocation of a test track. Consett I believe has had much land built on. Bury - Bolton is strange but I could see it being well used if a decent service was provided.


On the other hand, Fawley and many of the new stations and infrastructure enhancements I think stand a very good chance.