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Railwatch 074 - December 1997


By Paul Jowett

Heavy metal A trainload of steel rolled out of Boston Docks in October heralding a new age and keeping 500 lorries a week off the roads. A covered steel terminal has been built, new sidings laid and old ones restored. The diesel shunter which used to work the docks has even returned after a "holiday" of four years at the Nene Valley Railway at Peterborough. The Cleveland Trust -owner of the docks - is hoping that with help from EWS, more dock traffic can be switched from road to rail.

Flowing on A threat that oil being carried by rail from Gainsborough oilfield would switch to road has been averted. RDS member C J Clark reports that the oil trains continue to operate. Unconfirmed reports say that EWS may have cut rates to keep the traffic. RDS is passing on information about potential new customers for rail.

Weedy image Track and sidings at Sleaford and Boston are very overgrown with weeds. It may be environmentally friendly to use as little weedkiller as possible but it is not necessarily good for rail's image.

Integrated transport Cycle lockers have been provided by the county council at Ancaster, Heckington, Market Rasen, Metheringham, Ruskington, Saxilby, Spalding and Wainfleet and the information is included in the county's rail times booklet which is available at all Lincolnshire stations. The booklet also gives details of staffing, booking facilities, telephones, taxis, toilets, buffets, information displays, car parking, shelters and disabled arrangements.

Profit motive Lincolnshire is unlikely to benefit directly from a drive by Central Trains to increase revenue. The operator plans to target the Midlands conurbations where there is greater potential. But there may be indirect benefits from its investment in maintenance depots which should improve train performance and allow for more intensive use of trains. The company also plans to seek funds from the county council for joint enterprises, like improving information systems at Sleaford. There are also likely to be more fare offers.

People squeeze Overcrowding has been a problem, not only on summer Saturdays, but also during school holidays when day-trippers have tried to board inadequate trains to Skegness. As a very poor substitute, buses have been provided, cheating many families out of an enjoyable rail trip. The cost in public relations must have been enormous. Central Trains is unable to give any assurance that proper trains will be available to cope with these demands. Perhaps they should enquire about hiring a Midland Main Line 125 set to run to Skegness on summer Saturdays.

Allies on track RDS and South East Lincolnshire Travellers Association will be trying to establish good relations with the new rail managers to ensure the county can benefit from new investment.

Bridge bash The line between Lincoln and Sleaford was closed for a week in October after a lorry carrying a crane got stuck under a bridge near Metheringham, dislodging the bridge griders and brickwork. It is alleged the lorry driver also collided with another road vehicle and failed to stop. When considering a punishment, perhaps the magistrates will consider the major disruption caused to rail traffic. But then again, they probably won't.

Voting time The branch annual general meeting will be at Saxilby in March. Please phone 01 724 710528 for details.

Walk on RDS member Stuart Parker organised a "rail ramble" in October taking a party from Sleaford to Ancaster and walking back.

Info link The electronic information point at Sleaford has been a great success.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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