Day Return: Thornton Abbey to Barrow Haven

The Barton branch is full of interest for the devotee of branch lines: a line that time forgot, with hand-opened level crossing gates,
a single line token exchange, Great Central signal boxes, and wayside stations used by only a handful of people riding its Class 153
single-unit"bubblecars";to its passengers, the service is a real lifeline.

Thornton Abbey station serves the ruins of the Abbey (open to public at certain times) and a scattering of farm cottages and also has a direct
bus service from and to Ulceby five days a week when schools are open!

It has no fewer than three types of signs: LNER running-in boards (superbly restored),
modern "Northern" ones and a BR-style double-arrow -- all in rural isolation, untroubled by passengers!

Here the gates over the Goxhill - East Halton road at Thornton Abbey are being opened by hand,
ready for the approaching Cleethorpes - Barton service.

The Class 153 draws into Thornton Abbey -- "That's a first" said the driver to the photographer (the only passenger)
- indicating that daytime stops and passengers are a rarity. The LNER running-in boards for many years
propped on the platform surface, have now been lifted, mounted and repainted and make a fine view from passing trains
with the abbeys medieval gatehouse in the background.

Arrival at Barrow Haven and the guard checks that the passenger (travelling from Manchester Airport)
is in a safe position before dispatching the train to Barton.

The single track on the New Holland-Barrow Haven-Barton section looks rickety and
worn as the single car unit clatters away from Barrow Haven.

All photos and words by Chris Bates