Saturday, July 30, 2022


Dozens of people have taken part in a survey conducted into public transport provision in Brigg with the vast majority suggesting more frequent services should be provided.
We have decided to run a post about this today as Saturday is the only day of the week when our town's railway station should have passenger trains calling to link Brigg and nearby Kirton Lindsey with Sheffield, Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Gainsborough and Retford.
However, since January the train operator, Northern, has suspended all six Saturday trains on our local route due to Covid-related staffing shortages, and this situation is likely to continue until a review in December 2022.
The Independent Brigg Line Rail Group (IBLRG) issued some 'results' this week from its Brigg Line Questionnaire conducted over the last few months - based on 200 responses. The survey has now closed.
When passenger trains have been cancelled in previous years, for various reasons, a bus service has substituted - calling at stations along the Brigg Line.
However, since January's suspension, no replacement coaches have been provided.
When asked "Is this fair for the communities on this line?" 104 people (97 per cent) who took part in the survey answered No.
The reduction to Saturdays only passenger trains along the Brigg Line was introduced in 1993. The questionnaire found that 94 per cent (187 people) believe this is unacceptable for local communities.
When asked if the Brigg Line should now get an improved service through the Government's Levelling Up Programme, 97 per cent (194 people) thought this should be the case.
The IBLRG has suggested that a new Worksop to Cleethorpes shuttle service 'running every few hours' should be introduced via Brigg, Kirton Lindsey and Barnetby. Asked in the survey if they supported this idea, 87 per cent (173) said Yes, with 20 people saying Maybe and 7 others replying No.
The survey also gauged opinion on whether TransPennine Express passenger trains should be diverted along the Brigg Line if, for any reason, they are unable to run on the Cleethorpes to Sheffield route via Barnetby, Scunthorpe and Doncaster.
Ninety-one people (85 per cent) felt this should be the case, with four saying No, while 12 others replied Maybe.
The IBLRG explained that, as part of the national Williams/Shapps Rail Review, train operators "are advised to look at running on diversionary routes."
Suggesting that three trains only (on Saturdays) had been "dictated by the Department for Transport" the rail group's survey asked public transport users if they felt the DfT had "failed" local communities "by not providing a proper train service."
Some 194 people (97 per cent) felt this to be the case.
Other questions were also included in the survey which can be viewed (in full) by following this link...
Some of those who took part in the survey added interesting comments.
One Brigg resident, who works in Sheffield and is a non-driver, currently relies on getting lifts to Scunthorpe to catch trains to the steel city.
There's a "need to have the train back with an improved timetable" while "commuters would help fund the viability of the trains."
An increased service would also bring in more visitors and tourists to Brigg "helping small businesses thrive."
Another comment posted as part of the survey says "good quality public transport is now more important than ever."
The respondent suggests "opportunities exist to create a sustainable service if only someone in authority would be forward looking and thinking."
Brigg Blog points to high summer being a prime time of the year for potential travel from our town's railway station, particularly for family groups wishing to spend a Saturday at the seaside in Cleethorpes. However, this option is unavailable at present due to the suspension of all passenger trains.
We know that many local public transport users appreciate Northern's Saturdays-only service, in normal circumstances, means the town still retains a presence on the national passenger network - something it gained way back in the 1840s.
People should be aware that when local trains were reduced to Saturdays only, this was not on Northern's watch.
However, there are local hopes that, eventually, more frequent trains can be introduced... operating on more days of the week.

PICTURED: A Northern train picking up passengers in Brigg prior to the service being suspended; a TransPennine Express unit passing through the town's station - a rare sighting, although it was not stopping in platform two; and some extracts from the new survey.