Transport in Lincolnshire

Transport in Lincolnshire

= Transport network =

Lincolnshire is a large county 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 20km (13 mile) length with this much needed upgrade being finally completed in 2004. Up until a few years ago, it was said that there was only approximately 35 km (22 miles) 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.


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 following the Beeching Report of 1963. This included 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 1890s.

A daily through train service operated between Cleethorpes and London King’s Cross via Grimsby, Market Rasen and Lincoln until the late 1980s when it was discontinued following the electrification of the East Coast Main Line, necessitating 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.

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 from Skegness Pass through Boston and Sleaford and travel on to Nottingham.

Stamford station is served hourly with an east-west East Midlands Trains service between Peterborough and Leicester.

Another 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.


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 service 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.

The main bus company in the county, Lincolnshire Road Car was bought out by Stagecoach in late 2005. Stagecoach Grimsby-Cleethorpes runs buses in North East Lincolnshire

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.


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 transhippment 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 9'2".

A new plan for waterways improvement in Boston was recently announced. It proposes a new navigation between the South Forty-Foot Drain and the River Witham.

The River Ancholme is also navigable, as are some of the larger drains in the Fens.

The Horncastle Canal dates back to 1792, linking the town of Horncastle to the Witham and incorporating the route of the earlier Tattersal navigation. Bourne and Sleaford had navigable river access until well into the 20th Century


*J.N. Clarke, "The Horncastle and Tattershall Canal" (Oakwood Press, 1990)
*Pearson, R. E & Ruddock, J. G. "Lord Willoughby's Railway" (Willoughby Memorial Trust. 1986)
* [ BBC News story about proposed Navigation improvement in Boston.]

External links

* [ Lincs Interconnect web site (five bus operators)]
* [ Delaine bus company website]
* [ Kimes bus company website]
* [ Sleafordian bus company website]
* [ Dial-a-ride service]

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