A Brief History of the Line


A Brief History of the Line


The Barton to Cleethorpes railway line was opened by the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) in several stages between 1848 and 1863. The first stage opened in 1848 was between Grimsby and New Holland enabling a connection via a ferry across the river Humber to the city and port of Hull. The following year a 4 mile branch line was opened from New Holland to the town of Barton on Humber. In 1863 a further extension from Grimsby to Cleethorpes was added enabling through travel between Barton and Cleethorpes via New Holland. The MS&SR made major financial investment in the line providing port and pier facilities at New Holland, extensions to Grimsby Docks, and a major investment at Cleethorpes transforming a small fishing hamlet into a major seaside resort.


In the 1950s, like many railways throughout the country, the line started to feel the impact of road competition and goods and passenger traffic began to decline. Following the Beeching plan of 1963/64 the line was recommended for closure. However after consultation the line became exempt from closure mainly because of proposed industrial development of the area served by the line. The New Holland ferry also survived but did eventually close down with the opening of the Humber Bridge in 1981. Following the loss of the ferry the connection with Hull was maintained by a bus service from Barton. This service has remained ever since and has seen major improvement recently with a half-hourly service linking the towns of Scunthorpe and Barton with the city of Hull. The Stations along the line were all staffed until the late 1960s when all the staff was removed and Pay Trains were introduced, which still remain today. Eventually all the stations buildings were removed. The hourly train service on the line remained. However the service was cut back to two hourly in 1990. The all year Sunday service was also cut back to May to September. This remains today.

The following articles have been written by Ronald Sparkes and contain interesting historical information and photographs.


Further Line history about Grimsby railways (pdf 204kb)


Further Line history about Thornton Abbey station (pdf 209kb)


History of the Goxhill to Immingham docks branchline (pdf 65kb)


Information about Barton on Humber (pdf 64kb)


Information about Cleethorpes (pdf 134kb)


History of New Clee station (pdf 179kb)


History of Goxhill station (pdf 146kb)


History of Stallingborough (pdf 78kb)


The case of the missing driver (pdf 78kb)



The following website contains some excellent historical pictures of the line