As is customary, please find below the year in review for transport happenings in Lincolnshire & East Yorkshire.
The year started with news that direct Cleethorpes – London trains could be back on the cards, following news that Grand Central had identified a cost-efficient manner in which to operate them, while not falling foul of ‘revenue extraction’ from the incumbent franchised operators along the ECML.
TransPennine Express at Cleethorpes station and Stagecoach at its Grimsby depot both sustained significant damage as an organised gang targeted trains and buses smashing countless windows.
Lincoln City Council opened its new Lincoln Central Bus Station in the city centre, which while scaled back from initial plans, afforded passengers are more pleasant location at which to wait for their bus.
To coincide with the opening, Stagecoach introduced its Simplibus network to the city along with 10 new Enviro200s.
Siemens announced that one of its Lincoln factories would house a new bogie overhaul facility that would open in June.
A special event was held at Hull’s Paragon Interchange to celebrate 10 years since it was opened
At the end of the month the LEYTR area was affected by the so-called ‘Beast from the East’, rendering large swathes of Lincolnshire as no-go areas on account of the depth of snow.
The ‘Beast from the East’ effectively saw off the last operational trains in Hull Trains’ fleet, which led to multiple days of their passengers having to travel via Sheffield and the Midland Main Line as VTEC wouldn’t accept their passengers’ tickets. This also saw their MD resign.
Siemens announced that it had chosen Goole in which to build a new train manufacturing plant with an investment of up to £200 million, subject to acquiring orders.
Virgin Trains East Coast confirmed to LEYTR that its additional direct trains between Lincoln and London would commence from the May 2019 timetable change. Their MD also announced, rather prematurely, that their Class 800 ‘Azuma’ fleet would begin running in passenger service from November.
Operation of MegabusPlus passed from Stagecoach’s Hull to Barnsely depot.
Stagecoach and EYMS introduced a new KAT card in Hull, offering a capped unlimited travel ticket for ‘Kids And Teenagers’.
VTEC operated one of their Class 800 ‘Azuma’ trains along the Joint Line and through Lincoln, albeit without fanfare as the trial run took place overnight.
Hunt’s of Alford won Independent Retailer of the Year Award 2018 at the East Lindsey Business Awards.
A&P Travel won no fewer than three awards at the 64thUK Coach Awards in Blackpool, including the prestigious Coach of the Year Award.
Stagecoach closed its Norfolk business at the end of the month, converting its Long Sutton outstation to a small depot in its own right. It would not merge with their Lincolnshire business but be operated by neighbouring Peterborough.
Skegness Travel ceased trading after not meeting terms imposed by the Traffic Commissioner at a recent Public Inquiry.
EYMS closed its Hornsea depot in an attempt to balance its books. The company blamed the reduction in concessionary reimbursement received from East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the loss of tendered work there following reductions in rural services earlier in the year.
New railway was laid in Lincolnshire, culminating in the summer opening of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway at Ingoldmells, which boasted an additional 150 meters in length.
The railway’s May timetable change caused considerable problems for Northern, though fortunately the LEYTR area didn’t bear the brunt. Northern did have an ingenious way of swapping their Class 153 at Cleethorpes each night, involving attaching it to an EMT ‘153’.
National Holidays won Gold in the Coach Marketing Award category at the UK Coach Awards.
A Red Bus Dart was stolen from the operator’s premises and abandoned on Cleethorpes beach.
The month also marked the 40thanniversary of the iconic HST operating along the East Coast Main Line.
Three additional Skegness Seasiders entered service ‘along The Bank’ for Stagecoach, who acquired them last summer from Stagecoach Cumbria.
VTEC would be no more, replaced by London North Eastern Railway (LNER) following the latest collapse of the InterCity East Coast franchise. LNER would not quite be the holy grail Nationalisation supporters wanted, however, as it would be operated by the government’s Operator of Last Resort – a consortium of engineering companies, one of the largest global accountancy firms and a multi-national professional services firm.
Siemens won an order to build 94 Tube trains worth £1.5 billion at its new Goole factory.
EYMS was sold by its Chairman & Chief Executive Peter Shipp to Go-Ahead Group plc’s Go North East subsidiary, who committed to running the business as a separate entity.
Stagecoach introduced contactless payments to all of its services in the LEYTR area.
The East Midands rail franchise Invitation to Tender was released and showed significant frequency increases Lincoln–Grimsby/Doncaster.
National Holidays introduced 15 new Mercedes-Benz Tourismos into service.
Stagecoach told Hull City Council (HCC) that it required subsidy to continue operating the park-and-ride operation based at Pride Park. This raised a few eyebrows as Stagecoach approached HCC two years earlier to offer to run the service on a wholly commercial basis.
The Transport Select Committee’s findings over the failure of VTEC lay the blame squarely with Stagecoach/Virgin, though the DfT and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling were also implicated.
While dropping off school children in Swineshead, a Brylaine bus started fall into a sink hole, though there were fortunately no injuries.
GHP Trading, operating as AC Williams, announced an order for seven brand new Mercedes-Benz Tourismo coaches and a new base near Heathrow to capture lucrative airport work.
Bus usage in Hull had fallen by 18% in a decade, it was revealed.
The first transfer of EYMS buses to the Go North East fleet was confirmed, though in effect the buses had been there for the past month, initially being loaned for the Tall Ships Race.
The £2 million refurbishment of Lincoln’s railway station was completed.
Delaine Buses introduced Ticketer machines to its fleet, making contactless payments now possible.
Retrenchment by Centrebus saw the company either lose or choose not to bid for tendered work in Lincolnshire, which saw the long-standing Stamford – Grantham service pass to CallConnect.
Former Grimsby-Cleethorpes Transport Leyland Fleetline/Roe, MBE613R, now preserved by the LEYTR Editor, returned ‘home’ where it undertook a day’s recreation of times past.
The Transport Secretary announced a Rail Review, whose terms of reference would include investigating why two privately operated InterCity East Coast franchises have defaulted.
The Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society’s entry at Showbus, ex-Eastern National K5G/ECW, ONO 59, won first prize in the Shillbeer Award.
This month marked the 25thanniversary of the Brigg Line’s passenger train demotion to three journeys on Saturdays only. And to add insult to injury, the line saw precious few trains owing to strike action by Northern’s guards over the planned imposition of driver-only operation.
Delaine Buses took on operation of Centrebus’s route between Stamford and Peterborough via Wittering.
One of Hull Trains’s Class 180s caught fire at Grantham resulting in the second period of the year when it couldn’t operate any of its timetable for consecutive days.
Lincoln city centre was evacuated on suspicion of a bomb left at the City Bus Station, though it transpired to be a bag of shopping accidentally left behind.
LNER announced its ‘Azuma’ trains would not now enter service this year, just a rather sketchy assurance that they would see service sometime during 2019.
Stagecoach introduced its Simplibus brand to Scunthorpe, along with Hornsbys who entered into a Quality Bus Partnership with North Lincs Council.
EYMS introduced Ticketer machines to its fleet, enabling passengers to pay contactlessly.
This month marked a quarter century since Grimsby-Cleethorpes Transport was purchased by Stagecoach.
EYMS introduced the first of a 14-strong order for tri-axle Scania coaches to operate its National Express commitments.
Northern recorded the 30thstrike day in the long-running dispute over driver-only operation of trains, which started with Southern in April 2016.
The Lincoln Christmas Market was held as normal, though the numbers attending were down on previous years due to strike action by Northern guards.
Delaine Buses revealed further expansion from next month, taking over operation of services between Market Deeping and Spalding following a decision by Shaw’s of Maxey to relinquish the tender.
Ken Pudsey stepped down as LEYTR Secretary, being replaced by Richard Belton.