Around Grimsby BB5

Railways Around Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Immingham

Customs records show that Grimsby and Immingham had been ports for many centuries (the Pilgrim Fathers original exit port was Immingham!), but Grimsby expanded hugely from the 19th century, and Immingham Dock "the Great White Elephant of the Great Central" was built between 1906 and 1912.  Some "white elephant" .... it is now the UK's number one port by volume of cargo, and 20% of all rail journeys in the UK start or terminate at Immingham!  (Lots of opportunities for Railworks scenarios there!).

The Great Central built a vast mileage of sidings at Immingham, which are suggested in my route file, principally for the export of coal.  Later, two oil refineries were built between Immingham and Killingholme, and a large number of oil storage tanks were built on the docks, and there was, and is, a considerable volume of oil traffic on the railways.  I haven't used the oil tanks - but if you wish to see these in a Railworks Route, then try Hedborough North from Railworks, which is based on Immingham Docks.  Modern coal trains are now loaded at Immingham with imported coal, and work on the Merry-Go-Round principle.  You can try this on the route with trains from Immingham to West Burton Power Station near Gainsborough, and back again.  Immingham was built with a massive engine shed, coaling and watering facilities, large power station and a tram system from the docks to Grimsby, most of which was in open countryside.

Grimsby was a port too, and handled (still handles) many types of cargo.  In the era in which the route is set though, the traditional fishing industry and its related docks, sheds, markets, and sidings are everywhere.  Express fish trains would be dispatched to all areas of the country, using some of the best engines and operating to a strict timetable, so whichever route you use to Grimsby, you'll find plenty of fish trains speeding past.  There was plenty of coal needed in Grimsby itself, not just for domestic use, but for industry, electricity, gas, railway use, and bunkering ships - particularly the trawlers.  For this, there were three huge coaling hoists built on the docks (accessed from the lines at New Clee).

Cleethorpes (originally called Cleethorpe - but the railway company added the final 's' to improve the name for visitors!) was and is a seaside resort, catering particularly for visitors from Yorkshire and the East Midlands, as well as further afield.  Its seven platform station was frequently full of trains of day-trippers, and these trains were unloaded of their passengers, then taken for storage for the day to the carriage sidings either side of Suggitts Lane signal box to allow more trains to access the platforms, whilst their locos could replenish water and coal at the nearby water tower, and coaling stage, and be turned on the turntable near the station ready to reverse back into the station in the evening for the return trip.  Seaside specials to Mablethorpe and Skegness also used the Grimsby Town - Louth route.

There were occasional "football specials" to bring visiting fans to Grimsby Town's Blundell Park ground between New Clee and Cleethorpes stations.  These most frequently dropped off their passengers at New Clee Station, for the short walk to the ground.

The level crossings next to Grimsby Docks Station was reputed to be the busiest in the whole of the UK, with 45 train movements per hour not uncommon.  The curve from there towards New Clee and Cleethorpes was sufficiently "tight" as to require a guide rail inside the running rails, and the wheels of rolling stock would squeal objections to the turn.  So, proceed with caution!

The rather ugly - too-big-for-the-signalbox-above - base of several signal boxes in the area was down to bomb-blast-proofing, but remains to this day (where the box itself remains!!).

The "magnet" effect of Grimsby and Immingham on the railway system can be gauged by the fact that the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway, between Chesterfield and Lincoln carried 35 coal trains each way per day, destined for Grimsby and Immingham!

Finally, to add to the attractions, cruises operated from Immingham's Eastern Jetty, until the 1930s.

In the video below, a steam loco negotiates the short journey between Grimsby Town and New Clee in 1962.


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