It is a quarter of a century since daily rail services have stopped at Gainsborough Central station. Conservatives have welcomed the announcement that there are to be hourly services Monday to Saturday; something Gainsborough Central station has never experienced since it opened in 1849.
The new service, commencing in December, will call at all stations between Sheffield and Gainsborough Central. Meanwhile the existing service between Lincoln and Sheffield will become faster as trains will run non-stop between Worksop and Sheffield. The 'Saturday Only' trains to Cleethorpes will continue to operate as well.
The new service is the result of negotiations between Conservative-led West Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council, Bassetlaw District Council and with Arriva Rail North who operate Northern Trains.
These negotiations arose from the efforts of the North Notts and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership, formed just a twelve months ago. Campaigns to secure a regular train service to Gainsborough Central had been ongoing for many years; and have been supported by local parliamentarian Sir Edward Leigh and local councillors.
Like almost all public transport it will be a case of use it or lose it. Over the next months various activities will take place to encourage passengers to use the new train service. Not only will the service help Gainsborough residents, including those coming to live in the town’s new homes, it will a boost to Gainsborough to market itself as a place to visit for shopping, tourism and leisure and of course it will help employers find staff to fill their vacancies.
Retford and Worksop also benefit by having two trains each hour to Sheffield and Gainsborough (split between Gainsborough Central and Gainsborough Lea Road stations).
Meanwhile Network Rail has prepared for the new service by renewing signals and points at Gainsborough Central and at Worksop station a major restoration is under way. Virgin Trains East Coast has improved the waiting areas at Retford by fitting doors, windows and air conditioning.