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Barton Line

Barton Line
Locale North Lincolnshire
North East Lincolnshire
Yorkshire and the Humber
Termini Barton-on-Humber

Rolling stock British Rail Class 142
British Rail Class 153
British Rail Class 185
Line length 23 miles
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The Barton Line is a railway line in North and North East Lincolnshire, England. It runs from Barton-upon-Humber south east to Cleethorpes and was designated by the Department for Transport as a community rail line in February 2007. Barton station is near to the Humber Bridge. It is situated on the south bank of the Humber Estuary


  • Places served 1
  • Services 2
  • Infrastructure 3
  • History 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Places served

The towns and villages served by the route are listed below.


Passenger services on the line are provided by Northern Rail. Freight services previously served the chemical works at Barton-upon-Humber and the sidings at New Holland Pier. Services are operated by one Class 153 unit every two hours in each direction on weekdays.[1] Sunday trains only run during the summer months (May to early September).

Before Class 153s started operating Class 142 Pacers & Class 150s (and before that Class 114) DMU sets were used. On Mondays – Saturday, the first service of the day from Cleethorpes to Barton-on-Humber, the 06:00 departure, and the 06:58 return was operated by a First TransPennine Express Class 185 Desiro unit (for operational reasons), although this service did not call at Great Coates and Thornton Abbey due to the low platforms. This practice ceased at the December 2013 timetable change and the first train from Cleethorpes now serves all intermediate stations other than New Clee, which is currently served by trains on request during daylight hours only.

From 2017 services on the line will be transferred to the East Midlands franchise.

Since the closure of the chemical plant no scheduled freight services operate on the route, though occasional trainloads have operated from the bulk grain terminal at New Holland (which now occupies the former pier it remained rail-connected for a period, but the tracks are now disrepaired and unusable).


The line is mostly double track, except for the sections at each end and the connecting curve between Habrough and Ulceby. The eastern portion of the route as far as Habrough is shared with the South Humberside Main Line to Doncaster and Lincoln Central, whilst the short section either side of Ulceby also forms part of the busy freight artery between Brocklesby and the Port of Immingham. West of Ulceby the line is double as far as Oxmarsh Crossing (near New Holland), reverting to single for the final 3 14 miles (5.2 km) to the terminus at Barton. This section has several manual signal boxes with semaphore signalling and manned & gated level crossings in operation.[2] Network Rail are planning to re-signal the line in 2015-6, with control passing to the Rail Operations Centre at York – all the level crossings on the line will then be automated and the existing signal boxes abolished.


The New Holland to Grimsby Town section of the line follows the Great Grimsby and Sheffield Junction Railway, opened in 1848. This subsequently became part of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and eventually the London and North Eastern Railway at the 1923 Grouping. The line was extended to Cleethorpes by the MS&LR in 1863, with a branch from Goxhill to the docks at Immingham added in 1911. The line was particularly busy during World War Two, as it served RAF airfields at Goxhill & Killingholme in addition to the various industrial installations in the area.[3] The line was twice proposed for closure in the 1960s (in 1963 and again four years later), but was reprieved on each occasion (though the Goxhill to Immingham line did close in June 1963).[4]

Prior to the opening of the Humber Bridge in June 1981, passenger services ran via New Holland Pier where they connected with the ferry service across the River Humber to Corporation Pier in Hull but after the bridge was commissioned the ferry service was withdrawn and a new chord line and replacement station provided at New Holland to allow trains to run directly to and from Barton. Since then, the connection to/from Hull has been provided by bus over the bridge and now operates out of the bus/rail interchange at Hull Paragon.

The service ran hourly until the spring of 1990, but was cut to the current two-hourly pattern at that year's timetable change by British Rail due to unreliability and a shortage of rolling stock. The winter Sunday service also suffered the same fate in 1999 following the abolition of Humberside County Council and subsequent withdrawal of funding by the replacement unitary authorities.[4]


  1. ^ Northern Rail Timetable 31 – Barton-on-Humber to CleethorpesNorthern Rail; Retrieved 6 December 2013
  2. ^ "Friends of The Barton Line – Current Issues" Barton Line Rail User Group; Retrieved 30 April 2014
  3. ^ History of the Barton Cleethorpes Railway Line NE Lincs CC website article; Retrieved 6 December 2013
  4. ^ a b A Brief History of the Barton LineFriends of the Barton Line; Retrieved 6 December 2013

External links

  • Barton Cleethorpes Community Rail Partnership website
  • Friends of The Barton Line Rail user group for the route
  • Photo Gallery of the Route in 2001

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