Wednesday, May 22, 2019


The Cary Lane bus station in Brigg, North Lincolnshire

Better public transport is on the wish list of many people who live within the Brigg area.
We could do with a meaningful train service - rather than the current Saturdays-only timetable offering only three easterly journeys to Cleethorpes and three to Sheffield.
And grateful as we are for the fine bus links between Brigg and Scunthorpe, including the relatively new X4 Hornsbys expresses, journeys to towns and cities other than our neighbouring metropolis can prove difficult if not impossible.
We thought about this while making a recent Friday trip from Brigg to Buckinghamshire, returning three days later, on a Monday.
First, we had to take the No 4 bus from Brigg Cary Lane to Scunthorpe because connecting National Express company cross-country coaches from Hull to the steel town, via the Humber Bridge, do not call in Brigg on their way to London and other destinations.
Is there any chance the powers-that-be could ask for our town to be included through a slight diversion to the route?
We duly boarded the mid-morning Friday National Express coach in Scunthorpe and headed for Birmingham, where we took a train from Moor Street station to High Wycombe, arriving mid-afternoon.
Between Birmingham and our destination we gazed from the window of the excellent and very frequent Chiltern Trains service as we passed through towns that, unlike Brigg, still have stations with a meaningful timetable.
Having returned to Scunthorpe on the Monday aboard the National Express coach we were in time to catch the 8.10pm Hornsbys No 4 back to Brigg, via Broughton and Scawby.
However, had we chosen to return a day earlier, a taxi would have been required from Scunthorpe to Brigg as no late buses are operated by Stagecoach on Sundays.
Talk to people living in many other parts of the UK and they find it hard to believe that an area like North Lincolnshire has sparse public transport, compared with what they enjoy and assume to be the norm.
And what about more local  public transport?
There's a bus service between Brigg and Lincoln, via Scawby and Hibaldstow, but it only runs on Fridays.
If you want to go to Grimsby - Monday to Friday - you can get a bus from Brigg to Barnetby and back again, but timetabling makes it difficult to spend a meaningful length of time in the coastal town. The same applies if you want to visit Barton.
Buses, coaches and passenger trains are all run by private companies, not North Lincolnshire Council which, to its credit, supports some public transport routes and also the CallConnect dial-a-bus service. However, much as we appreciate CallConnect (being a registered user) it does not operate at all times when demand exists.
When it comes to the all-important carbon footprint and reducing global warming, we are told that using public transport is most desirable because it reduces the number of individual car journeys.
But someone, somewhere has to ensure that buses and trains are available whenever people want to comply with this worthy aim, and that means in the evenings and weekends, seven days a week.
Our traveller's tale does have a happy ending. Having arrived at High Wycombe railway station, we had some time to kill.
Just beyond the car park we spied the Bootlegger pub that proved to be an absolute delight. So much so that we took some pictures of it to share with fellow real ale fans once we got back to Brigg.
Viewing the line-up of pumps on the bar, we selected a refreshing light ale made by a local brewery called Fisher's!

Fisher's Blonde Ale on tap at the Bootlegger pub (below) in hilly High Wycombe.

Birmingham's famous Bull Ring Centre viewed from Moor Street railway station in the centre of the city.


Ken Harrison said...

Nige...I vaguely remember that the National Express, Hull to London coach use stop in Cary Lane. But this must have been b4 1993 as one had to to Scunny by that time.

For reference: I use to know Brum Bill Ring, but not the one in your pic.
For example, the Bull Ring was always an important market place since the Middle Ages, and a major shopping complex was built there in the 60's..abd that's the one I know.
In the early 2000s the area was revamped and Bull Ring became Bullring...

smiler said...

gainsbrough central has now a hourly train service, all were asking is at least one train to connect with trains at barnetby and Retford

Paul said...

The Gainsborough central stopping service has just 12 months subsidy to run it between Retford and Gainsborough Central, there is absolutely no chance that arriva northern will run to Cleethorpes via the Brigg line, as department for transport have confirmed not once but twice that the current train operator does not wish to run the Saturday service anymore, since taking over the franchise the publicity for the Brigg line from the train operator and the new community rail partnership has been totally non-existent.