14 October 2019

A New Town's New Town, Disruption for a Road Dive Under & Lincolnshire's Sunday Buses

Monday - A New Town's New Town
Anyone heading north of Peterborough along the East Coast Main Line would struggle to miss what looks like a new town being built around three miles out. This is actually the building site for a grade separated junction to the west of Werrington, itself split in two with the modern 'half' acting as one of Peterborough's townships. The new junction at Werrington will see the Up/Down Stamford line offer a link to the Great Northern/Great Eastern 'Joint Line' by means of a dive under. Presently, freight trains coming from the Ely/Felixstowe direction have to cross the ECML at Werrington Junction to reach the Joint Line for northbound travel. The irony here is that to reduce congestion on the ECML, northbound freight trains have to effectively block all lines to get off.
     I often stare in awe at the sheer complexity of such undertakings and the Werrington Grade Separated Junction is no exception. Specific tarmac car parks, prefabricated office blocks and even traffic light road operating systems have been installed. The main site car park looks positively urban. The amount of work that needs doing also sounds insurmountable. The connecting spur from the south end of the Joint Line diverged over a mile before Werrington Junction - a sufficient length to allow a suitable gradient to pass under the ECML. On the west side of this Anglo-Scottish artery, the new link joins the Up/Down Stamford which itself needs moving a bit to the left. Were it to remain in situ, the curve required for train leaving in the direction of the dive under would be too sharp. Moving a two-line railway a little bit to the left required compulsory purchase orders and the temporary closure of two footbridges.

Tuesday - Disruption for a Road Dive Under
Driving along the A1 today I was a little disheartened to see yellow road signs that show disruption is expected "until Summer 2021" - yes, Summer 2021. The area in question is while by-passing Grantham, just south of the A607 (Melton) junction. Very similar to Werrington's grade separated junction, here the A52 will head under the A1 and along a new formation that by-passes Grantham and will come out 'yon side' (as they say locally) just north of Prince William of Gloucester Barracks. The benefits here are immediately beneficial to all Grantham residents and those many thousands of truckers who have to pass through the town's centre each week. There is no east-west by-pass, just a north-south alignment in the form of the A1. The new A52 by-pass, as reported almost two years ago in the LEYTR, will have to quite literally bridge the ECML. But still, Summer 2021... It got me thinking - without any online research, I genuinely wondered which will be completed first. Werrington or Grantham?

Sunday - Lincolnshire Buses Today
Driving home with the kids from my parents' house in Cleethorpes today, my son (who has a penchant for all things geographical) started to make a list of the likely buses we'd pass en route. He'd not realised that today was a Sunday and Lincolnshire's limited bus network is positively moribund today. It got me thinking though as we dissected the county: how many bus routes outside urban Grimsby/Skegness/Lincoln/Scunthorpe actually run today? I made a list:
     InterConnect 1 (Lincoln - Grantham)
     InterConnect 37 (Spalding - Peterborough)
     InterConnect 56 (Skegness - Lincoln)
     InterConnect 59 (Skegness - Mablethorpe)
     101 (Bourne - Peterborough)
     322 (Hull - Scunthorpe - Swansea)
     327 (Hull - Scunthorpe - Bristol)
     339 (Grimsby - Lincoln - Westward Ho!)
     FastCat 350 (Ashby - Scunthorpe - Hull)
     447 (Hull - Lincoln - London Victoria)
     448 (Hull - Grimsby - London Victoria)
     449 (Mablethorpe - London Victoria)
     InterConnect 505 (Spalding - King's Lynn)
     567 (Hull - Scunthorpe - London Victoria)
It's worth noting that seven of the above list of 14 services are long-distance National Express routes, representing half of all services in Lincolnshire on Sunday. Towns like Louth only have National Express to rely on. As we headed from Grimsby the only time we had the possibility of meeting any of the above routes was as we passed through Horncastle, (we could have bumped into InterConnect 56). And of course in Bourne the 101 but as we were travelling during the late afternoon/early evening the latter had finished operating. I had hoped we'd pass the 448 heading Hull-bound but that didn't happen either since we headed via New York and Langrick, whereas this long-distance coach service operates via Sleaford and Tattershall.
     Is there anywhere else whose Sunday timetable comprises 50% National Express?

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