Why so few Lincoln Central to Doncaster services?

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by Gathursty, 20 Aug 2018.

  1. Gathursty

    Gathursty Established Member

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    Five East Midland Trains services on a weekday run between Lincoln Central and Doncaster. Today I was on such a service which was a third full of a single 153 on leaving Gainsborough Lea Road heading North.

    Has there always been so few services between these two places?

    What is the future for the services on this line?

    As far as I am aware if you don't take the direct train, you would have to change at either Barnetby, Retford, Newark or Sheffield and none of these seem convenient.
     
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  3. TheBigD

    TheBigD Member

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    I beleive it will get an hourly service in the next East Midlands Franchise.
     
  4. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Back in the day - there was a Tory Government , which imposed huge financial targets on a National Operator called BR , resulting in draconian cuts. Particularly out in the sticks.

    The same Tory party then privatised the railway and imposed tight service level constraints which being contractual , remained (and as they were frankly fairly tricky on the issues of costs / revenue - stayed set in stone)

    So the greatest upgrade , visionary private sector input - has taken some some time to get there .....an axis which clearly deserves better than a thin resource led timetable.
     
  5. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Established Member

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    Presumably the same cutbacks which resulted in the 3tpd Whitby service and the 1tp4h Leeds-Lancaster timetable which I believe were both about 50% reductions in the service? And similarly got preserved in aspic at the moment of privatisation.
     
  6. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Exactly ...
     
  7. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    For the sake of historical accuracy it may be worth noting that services between Doncaster and Lincoln were even worse in late 1970 than they were in 1993.
    Much of East Lincolnshire was identified as a traffic desert as far back as the Beeching Report. Although the Wilson government of 1964-1970 initially reined back on proceeding with all the possible withdrawals (especially relating to Skegness) it had already approved one of the last large-scale closures (along with the Waverley Route) before losing office. Very few services were left and those that did were more related to unit positioning or the odd boat train than to developing local markets, commuting, etc. Although some bits came back (Peterborough-Spalding, Metheringham and Ruskington) the lines have long been skimpily resourced.
    Frankly nobody really knows what the passenger potential of the route is these days.
    It is entirely correct to note some other 1990s BR service reductions in Eastern England, such as Whitby, but this one had a rather longer history.
     
  8. Red Dragon

    Red Dragon Member

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    Absolutely - I am looking to do a trip to Whitby in a few weeks, but I now find the TPE I catch from Leeds no longer connects with the Whitby departure from Middlesbrough. It misses it by 19 minutes. Absolutely ridiculous !
    The Whitby train now leaves at 10.20 and the TPE from Manky Airport arrives at 10.39. Integrated transport......?
     
  9. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    The whole of the Lincolnshire and area was resourced in 1994 by around 21 vehicles - even thinner than West Wales , a triumph of parsimony - if not customer service.
     
  10. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Much as I enjoy a good old 1980s rant, maybe the fact that the OP only counted sufficient people to fill an Optare Solo suggests a reason why there's been little need to throw additional resources at it.

    I'm sure someone will point out that more people would use the line, if only we found spare DMUs to increase frequencies etc, but given the shortage that EMT have (e.g. short forming other routes, running 153s through to Liverpool) I'd be annoyed if additional DMU resource were found for this lightly loaded route whilst we cannot cope with demand between Nottingham and Liverpool etc.

    Lincoln - Doncaster is well used for freight (keeping slow services off the ECML), so it's an important line, even if it it can't justify many passengers (the through bus service ended a long time ago, so not like it's a lucrative market for bus companies either).
     
  11. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    On my most recent trip from Saxilby to Doncaster the thinly loaded Class 153 passed no fewer than four southbound intermodal trains. Be careful about wasting valuable freight capacity with more passenger trains.
     
  12. Marton

    Marton Member

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    Never as bad as 3 per day, always 4.
     
  13. 43074

    43074 Established Member

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    It doesn't even need much additional resource to improve it though - just shuttle the unit back and forth Doncaster to Lincoln, it has a journey time of 50 minutes so with 1 unit you could provide a 2 hourly clockface service from both ends and you still have a timetable which is an improvement on the service we have at the moment. OK, there's the cost of crew and extra unit mileage but it doesn't require any additional units which is the most scarce resource.
     
  14. Lincoln

    Lincoln Member

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    As ChiefPlanner has mentioned the whole timetable in Lincolnshire is resource led. The services between Lincoln and Doncaster are only run in marginal time where the units are not utilised for anything else.

    A case in point from examining the weekday timetable is there are 2x services within an hour during the evening - both originating from Sleaford. These particular services would otherwise go to Peterborough via Spalding in the daytime. But as that route (also set in aspic) doesn't serve passengers between Sleaford and Spalding after 16:30 the units can be used for Doncaster instead.

    The other 3x services to Doncaster are running in gaps where the unit would otherwise be sat in a bay platform at Lincoln, as that unit is used for peak time strengthening in the morning and, again in principle by freeing up another unit in the area, the same again in the afternoon.

    At present no service in Lincolnshire is specified by the government (or any previous ones!) to be 'customer' led. The timetable requirements are all about providing a 'reasonable' service across much of the day, delivered with the minimum amount of resources.

    Of course TheBigD is correct in pointing out that in the next franchise, many of the routes radiating out of Lincoln will see vast improvements. But that will be expensive and will be subsidised accordingly. I would doubt that the increase in collected fares would go anywhere towards meeting it otherwise.

    Something to note is if there genuinely was the potential passenger numbers to support such an uplift in services and costs, then the private sector would of delivered it years ago.
     
  15. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    wasn't the Joint Line service previously restricted by manual signal boxes which are now no more?
     
  16. TheBigD

    TheBigD Member

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    Yes. Spalding - Sleaford was only open 0830-1715 Mondays to Saturdays. The service has not been amended dispite the Joint Line now being open 24/7 following the upgrade a few years back.
     
  17. ashworth

    ashworth Established Member

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    On a recent visit to Lincoln, having not been for a good few years, I noticed that there seemed to be an enormous amount of new house building all around the city. The population of Lincoln must have increased significantly since I last visited on a regular basis 20+ years ago. The opening and development of the the University alone must have made a big difference with the student population.

    Lincoln has regular train services to Nottingham and to Sheffield, but even the service to Newark Northgate, for connections to London is a bit sparse at certain times of the day. The current service to Doncaster is so poor that probably people just don’t bother using it out of habit. Surely there must be some market for travel to/from the north from Lincoln. Changing at Doncaster ought to be the main route to Leeds and West Yorkshire, York, Newcastle and Scotland. Also there must be a tourism potential for people travelling to Lincoln from that direction.
     
  18. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    To add to the picture, from the 1978 timetable (under a Labour govt for the benefit of ChiefPlanner)
    Doncaster-Lincoln M-F service, 5 trains:
    0555 (to Lincoln, marked 2nd class only???)
    1029 (to Cambridge, not via Peterborough, but via the now-closed Spalding-March line)
    1238 (to Cambridge, ditto)
    1500 (to Boston via Sleaford)
    1654 (to Sleaford)

    and Lincoln to Doncaster only 4 services per day (Maybe that 0555 above might be a working off a newspaper train possibly - i.e. a BSK tacked on for passenger use)
     
  19. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    Perhaps the high level of demand is a reflection of why that particular connection wasn't preserved?......
     
  20. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Or maybe the improved service from the Durham Coast outweighs the extra change at Darlington for passengers going the long way round to Whitby?
    Mind you, I think I'd prefer the 40 minutes wait at Boro as things stand, rather than rely on TPE being right time.

    Anyway, it has nothing to do with Whitby having 4 trains a day, let alone Lincoln to Doncaster :)
     
  21. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    Very sparse, but actually quite useful through trains in four of the up cases, espeically going to Cambridge. (Were there return services?) And I've often wondered if services from Boston onto the joint could attract a few extra passengers from there.

    I don't suppose it could happen, because of the split between Nothern and EMT - but I would posit that if some of the Lincoln - Sheffields (perhaps in alternate hours) could be started back from Sleaford, that would make travel from there and the intermediate stations far more attractive for pax going beyond Lincoln. It would also mean that a new station at Heighington could start to make sense, offering more than just a 4 mile hop into Lincoln alone.
     
  22. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    Yes, two of the four northbound were through from Cambridge.
    Don't know if you could overtake them via the ECML/Peterborough!
     
  23. 70014IronDuke

    70014IronDuke Established Member

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    Quite likely, especially if coming from beyond Doncaster eg Leeds, or York. But Cambridge would still be a useful destination/departure point for any stop on the line, at least for some passengers. Pity that Spalding - March line went.
     
  24. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    Yes, March-Spalding would have allowed the container trains from Felixstowe to reach Doncaster without touching the ECML. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
     
  25. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Established Member

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    What was the logic for closing Spalding-March at such a late stage? Presumably Beeching retained it because of Whitemoor Yard.
     
  26. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    The eternal need for cash strapped BR to reduce costs (remember , freight had no subsidy - even then) , high staffing costs with signal boxes etc - but crucially the end of the long and heavy caravans of unfitted coal trains heading to London ended in the 1960's. (no gas coal , no power station coal - or much reduced after the Clean Air Act) - the fast perishable trains so beloved of Gerry Fiennes were either on the road , or the produce frozen (think peas) , or bottled think jam) and sent / distributed by road anyway.

    What freight was left , was smarter and often fully braked - (Whitemoor being in decline from the mid 1950's for this reason) - and could be accommodated on other routes. Now retired staff have told me towards the end they could sit a shift out and deal with a handful of trains on the line. If that.
     
  27. Welly

    Welly Member

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    Can I point out that this level of intermodal traffic is not typical throughout the whole day but only in the morning.
     
  28. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    The passenger services on the Joint Line have always been sparse, except on Summer Saturdays. Most of the intermediate stations served small populations and were closed before Marples-Beeching.

    By 1975, March - Spalding had just 3 trains per day each way (more on summer saturdays);
    Donaster / Lincoln had 4 southbound + 5 northbound per day.
    (An improvement over 1962 when there 3 southbound + 2 northbound.)

    And even Lincoln to Retford & Sheffield was a bit sparse in 1962 -- Lincoln Central northbound departures (SX) were:
    07:22 Sheffield Victoria
    08:57 Retford
    11:27 (Harwich - Liverpool Cen.) [March dep. 09:56, omitted Sleaford]
    12:00 (Colchester - Newcastle) [March dep. 10:10]
    12:11 Retford
    14:27 (Lowestoft - York or Newcastle) [March dep. 12:55, last train of day]
    14:42 (Boston - Sheffield Vic.)
    15:55 Retford
    17:37 (Skegness - Sheffield Vic.)
    18:35 Sheffield Vic.
    21:05 (Skegness - Sheffield Vic.)
     
  29. CaptainHaddock

    CaptainHaddock Established Member

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    The only thing that would justify increased services on the Lincoln-Doncaster line would be a station at Finningley to serve Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

    It's very unlikely to happen though - it seems like every other year there's a new proposal to build a station but nothing ever seems to happen. Here's this year's proposal.

    https://www.globalrailnews.com/2018...ailway-station-plans-to-support-aerotropolis/
     
    Last edited: 23 Aug 2018
  30. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    Indeed. Millions spent on a road, though. No shortage of resources there.
     
  31. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    Except not all airport stations have been a resounding success - as East Midlands Parkway has amply demonstrated. Or Teeside Airport for that matter.

    Doncaster / Robin Hood airport attracts 1m passengers a year - East Midlands attracts nearly 5m as does Liverpool airport.

    Even if you managed to attract 10% of the airport's passengers to arrive by train that would mean an average of 300 people a day using the station - hardly a compelling figure. There's already an express bus from Doncaster station to the airport which must more than cover the demand.
     

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