Transport in Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a large county in England with a sparse population distribution, which leads to problems funding all sorts of transport. The transport history is long and varied, with much of the road network still based on the Roman model, and the once extensive rail network a shadow of its former self.
Being on the economic periphery of England, Lincolnshire's transport links are less well developed than many other parts of the United Kingdom. The road network within the county is dominated by single-carriageway trunk roads (A roads) and minor roads (B roads) rather than motorways or dual carriageways – the administrative county of Lincolnshire is one of the small number of UK counties without a motorway (the M180, the principal link between South Yorkshire and the North Sea coast, runs exclusively within the boundaries of North Lincolnshire). Following a north-south axis, the most important route into and out of the county is the A1 (formerly the Great North Road) linking the county with London and south-east England as well as the important population centres of northern England and Scotland. The three main points where traffic enters the county from the A1 are Stamford, Grantham and Newark (A46). The volume of traffic on the A46 along with the extremely high accident rate forced the County Council to transform the road to a dual carriageway along its entire 13-mile (21 km) length, with this much-needed upgrade being finally completed in 2004. Up until a few years ago,[when?] it was said that there was only approximately 22 miles (35 km) of dual carriageway in the whole of Lincolnshire.
Partly because of its fast and flat (but deceptively undulating) roads, Lincolnshire has one of the worst road accident records of the UK counties (as measured in terms of road fatalities per head of population). In a national effort to cut the number of speed-related deaths and injuries, the county's residents became early guinea pigs in a programme to roll out speed cameras across the country and (much to the annoyance of many of its residents) Lincolnshire now has 52 speed cameras installed on its road network.
Bus services within the county are also limited in number, due to the inherent economic feasibility of serving a scattered population living across an area with low population density. Many smaller villages in the county have no regular bus service, making access to a private vehicle the only practical means of living in many parts of the county. The services that do exist almost exclusively serve the large population centres (e.g. Lincoln, Grantham, Boston, Skegness, Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Scunthorpe) and mid-sized market towns (e.g. Horncastle, Gainsborough) and a limited number of their dormitory and commuter villages.
Smaller companies like the Delaine and Kimes offer local services of considerable importance. A group of five of them offer integrated services under the InterConnect banner, including dial-up requested routings.
The low population density of the county means that the number of railway stations and train services is rather low considering the county's large physical size. A large number of the county's railway stations were permanently closed in the 1950s and 1960s, many following the Beeching Report of 1963.
An early closure (in 1959) was the whole of the former Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line through Sutton Bridge, Spalding, and Bourne and west to the Midlands. No obvious alternative to this route was available, and the loss has affected development and caused road congestion ever since.
One of the first railways to close in Lincolnshire was the Earl of Ancaster's estate railway, which ran from the East Coast Main Line at Little Bytham, through the Grimsthorpe estate to Edenham. It operated up until the 1870s.
A daily through train service operated between Cleethorpes and London King’s Cross via Grimsby, Market Rasen and Lincoln until 1993 when it was discontinued due to issues with the length of the platforms at Lincoln not being long enough for high-speed trains. This necessitated passengers changing trains at Newark when travelling to or from the capital. However, the East Coast Main Line passes through the county and so it is possible to catch direct trains to London, Leeds or Edinburgh from Grantham. As of the December 2008 timetable change, there is a daily service from Lincoln to London St Pancras, via Nottingham. In the summer of 2008, a major refit of Lincoln Central station improved signalling and customer facilities but did little to change the platform length issue.
TransPennine trains from Cleethorpes run to Manchester Airport, passing through Scunthorpe and connecting to the East Coast Main Line at Doncaster before continuing via Sheffield. East Midlands Trains services between Skegness and Nottingham pass through Boston, Sleaford and Grantham.
An East Midlands Trains service from Norwich to Liverpool stops at Grantham. It crosses the Pennines through Edale and can be regarded as one of the great unknown railway journeys of the UK.
Lincolnshire has its own airport (Humberside Airport) in the north of the county at Kirmington (a former RAF bomber airfield), between Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Lincoln. Several others are fairly easily accessible by either road or rail.
- Humberside Airport (HUY)
- Doncaster 'Robin Hood' Airport (DSA)
- East Midlands Airport (EMA)
- Leeds-Bradford Airport (LBA)
- Stansted Airport (STN)
- Manchester Airport (MAN)
Lincolnshire is served by the Foss Dyke canal, an ancient waterway of Roman origin, which connects the River Trent and the River Witham. Brayford Pool is the inland basin in the city, once a busy transhipment point. The Witham is navigable to Boston. Access between Brayford pool and the Witham is by the Glory Hole, a low medieval bridge spanning the river. The "Air Draught" under the bridge is given as 9 feet 2 inches.
The Fens Waterways Link is a scheme for waterways improvement for leisure boating. It proposes a new navigation between the South Forty-Foot Drain and the River Witham. The new lock gates at Black Sluice in Boston were officially opened in March 2009. Much work remains to be done on the Forty-foot before the dream can be realised of travelling from Lincoln to Cambridge.
The Horncastle Canal dates back to 1792, linking the town of Horncastle to the Witham and incorporating the route of the earlier Tattersal navigation. At least a century before what is normally called the Canal Age the Stamford Canal and Louth Canal were in use with modern style locks and towpath construction. Bourne and Sleaford had navigable river access until well into the 20th century and there are plans afoot to re-open the Sleaford Navigation.
- Pearson, R. E & Ruddock, J. G. Lord Willoughby's Railway (Willoughby Memorial Trust. 1986)
- J.N. Clarke, The Horncastle and Tattershall Canal (Oakwood Press, 1990)
- Lincs Interconnect web site (five bus operators)
- Delaine bus company website
- Kimes bus company website
- Sleafordian bus company website
- Dial-a-ride service