Louth railway closure was wrong says new book

ONE of the original team working for the infamous Dr Beeching has said the Louth to Grimsby railway line should never have been closed.

Louth Railway Station was closed in 1970 and is now apartments.

The railway line from Grimsby to Louth stayed open for freight only but closed in 1980.

Now one of Dr Beeching’s key officers speaks out against the closure in a new book.

Beeching: The Inside Track is written by railway author Robin Jones, with the help of Beeching’s former planning officer.

Years after the line closure locals still maintain that it was the wrong decision.

The route was closed to through passenger trains on October 5 1970, after years of people campaigning against the recommendations contained in British Railways chairman Dr Richard Beeching’s landmark report of March 27 1963, The Reshaping of British Railways.

Now, half a century after the publication of that report, the protestors have a new ally, albeit late in the day – in the form of none other the last surviving member of Beeching’s planning team which implemented his infamous closures!

At the time, the line was selected for closure because Beeching was trying to eradicate inter-city routes which ‘doubled up’, and the view was taken that alternative routes from Grimsby to the East Coast Main Line to London via Doncaster or Lincoln served far bigger populations.

Yet once the East Lincolnshire route was closed and lifted, that side of the county was left with comparatively poor transport links – a situation which still persists today.

Another route which the Beeching planner believes never should have closed is the Spalding to March line. Axed on November 27 1982, two decades after Beeching, he said that if it had been kept, it would have provided a major freight highway for container traffic from Felixstowe Docks, alleviating the current and increasing pressure on Peterborough station and the East Coast Main Line.

Robin Jones, who is also president of the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway which has rebuilt part of the Grimsby to Louth line as a tourist attraction using steam locomotives, said: “The world of today is very different to that of 1970 when the Grimsby to Peterborough through route closed.

“Imagine the benefits of a dedicated fast route from Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Boston to the capital today, when people commute over even longer distances rather than pay London housing prices. What better if it were electrified, like the line from King’s Lynn to London?

“Undoubtedly it would bring significant benefits to Grimsby in terms of regeneration and refranchise many towns and villages in terms of public transport while benefiting tourism enormously.

“Sadly, however, over the past four decades, key parts of the trackbed have been built on, making reinstatement of the old line either very expensive or all but impossible.

“Looking back with hindsight, the Lincolnshire folk who fought the closure in vain were not that wide of the mark, it is now realised.”

l Beeching: The Inside Track is published by Mortons Ltd, of Horncastle, priced £6.99.