Spalding to Boston rail link could boost region says think tank
A transport think tank believes creating a new rail link between Spalding and Boston would be a good way to boost the region.
A new report by Greengauge 21 called Connecting East Lincolnshire looks at how to boost connectivity and provide greener travel routes for the whole area.
It suggests a new four-mile track between Donington and Swineshead could give a direct Spalding-to-Boston route, boost the chances of a station at Donington and help to set up services going from Peterborough to the east coast.
The old Spalding-Boston line shut more than 50 years ago, with stretches of the route since replaced by the A16. Customers now have to change at Sleaford to reach Boston by rail.
Greengauge 21 highlights the fact that the Viking Link is already being built to connect Denmark to the UK at Bicker Fen, demonstrating the possibility for construction in the area and providing access to renewable energy if the line could be electrified.
The report explains: “This just might be a relevant factor if an East Lincolnshire Railway line re-instatement is ever to be contemplated because, with the Boston-Spalding railway having been converted into part of the A16 road since closure, Boston-Spalding is - in rail terms - a missing link.
“A candidate replacement alignment would be to the west of the old alignment (now A16), where a new short rail link between two surviving lines (Spalding-Lincoln and Sleaford-Boston) could be used to re-establish the broken connection.
“Running roughly parallel with the South Forty Foot Drain between Swineshead Bridge and Donington, this revised alignment would be longer than the original alignment between Boston and Spalding but it might prompt re-creating a station to serve the small town of Donington, birth-place of explorer Matthew Flinders.”
It also suggests, as an alternative, that Thameslink services from London and the south east could be extended to Spalding and an express bus to Grimsby established to provide direct connections to the capital.
The authors of the report were not available to discuss their ideas further.
Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum chairman George Scott said: “Anything to improve transport around this area would be great, it really would.
“I fully support it in theory as more interactive transport links could only be a great step forward.”
However, he said it was vital that such plans were explored in greater detail - and called on Greengauge 21 to work with bodies such as the forum, the University of Lincoln and transport operators to explore the idea in more depth.
The forum has spent £15,000 on a survey for Littleworth Station in Deeping St Nicholas yet, despite widespread agreement, has not yet been able to make that project happen - proof that progress can be tricky on transport schemes.
Donington parish councillor Phil Lovell said he thought the new rail line was ‘pie in the sky’ but does think a station could be re-opened in the village for the first time in sixty years.
He said: “It would not be very difficult at all to have a walk on platform like they have got at Hubberts Bridge - it’s a minimum amount of work to get that.
“I think it would get quite a bit of use.”
Greengauge 21 says the rail revamp could bring about economic revival as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.