'Months of disruption' for North East Lincolnshire train passengers
THE disruption caused to train passengers travelling to and from North East Lincolnshire by a landslide is set to continue for months.
Network Rail has today said there is no date set for the start of repair work to the line between Scunthorpe and Doncaster which was ripped apart on February 12.
The line links North East Lincolnshire with the nation's rail network, causing some passengers to endure journeys lasting double the time they should.
Brian Milner, of Larmour Road, in Grimsby, was dismayed when it took two hours and 40 minutes to travel from Doncaster to Grimsby earlier this week.
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He told how the replacement bus service running from Doncaster to Scunthorpe was slightly delayed, and the train from Scunthorpe to Grimsby was not held, leading to a hold-up.
"This is not acceptable and would put anyone off doing the journey again," he said.
"It is unclear when train services will resume, but it seems likely that it will take a while.
"Grimsby and Cleethorpes are in danger of appearing very isolated during this period.
"Northern Trains are diverting their Sheffield to Bridlington and Scarborough trains via an alternative route without the use of buses.
"Day-trippers may decide to try Bridlington or Scarborough instead of Cleethorpes."
A Network Rail spokesman anticipated the delays will be "for some time".
He continued: "Our engineers are working with the colliery to plan the safe repair of the track bed and railway once the spoil heap has been stabilised.
"Our initial estimate is that it will take about eight weeks to repair the damage after the colliery has completed its work."
But Simon Harris, managing editor of Railnews, the newspaper for the rail industry, has predicted it could be May before normal services resume.
As previously stated, Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers has already raised concerns that vital Easter trade in the resort could dip because of the incident.
He has secured an agreement from First TransPennine Express to have a direct bus route from Cleethorpes and Grimsby to Doncaster to avoid changes at Scunthorpe.
"I am keeping up the pressure on the rail companies," he said. "People realise it is not their fault."
And local industry which relies on rail for transport has been affected too.
David Hooper, external affairs manager of the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, said: "Businesses which rely heavily on rail freight transport will have to find alternative rail routes or employ alternative methods of transport for their goods, which will no doubt have a cost implication and cause some logistics problems in the short term."
Also see today's Viewpoint – pages 14-15