Guest column: New trains are just what the town needs

A Sheffield-bound train reaches Gainsborough Central. Could this become an every day occurrence?
A Sheffield-bound train reaches Gainsborough Central. Could this become an every day occurrence?

Social media has been alive with chatter of improved train services for Gainsborough.

As usual with social media it is not entirely accurate.

Recently, Northern Rail invited stakeholders, including the North Notts & LIncs Community Rail Partnership (NNLCRP), to comment on their proposed timetable for May 2018.

This will not only introduce the Northern Connect semi-fast service between Lincoln and Leeds giving a direct service linking Gainsborough, Retford and Worksop with Wakefield and Leeds, but also introduce an hourly Sheffield to Retford stopping service.

NNLCRP suggested that the stopping service could be extended to Gainsborough Central as the layover time of over 40 minutes at Retford is unproductive.

Railfuture and Travel Watch East Midlands also made the same suggestion with the result that Northern Rail adopted our suggestion.

Their plan is that from May 2018, they hope to run an hourly service between Gainsborough Central and Sheffield.

However, before these trains can run, Northern Rail have obtain permission from Network Rail part of the Department for Transport who actually own the tracks, stations and signals.

If approval is granted, and we should know the result by November, the new trains will radically change the travel habits of the town and add significant footfall to the adjoining Marshall’s Yard shopping centre.

Travel between Gainsborough, Retford and Worksop is anticipated to increase as a result.

That will be good news for our local economy.

An engineering town like Gainsborough needs to be plugged into the Northern Powerhouse.

We also need to take part in the growth of the Midlands economy.

Finally, a year after the initial date, the Department for Transport has issued the public consultation for the East Midlands rail franchise.

Anyone can take partand it is open until October 11.

The DfT are holding a public consultation at the Lincoln Hotel on Eastgate in Lincoln on August 30 between 3pm and 5pm, again, anyone can take part.

As part of this consultation, NNLCRP will make a case for a direct train service between the Brigg Line and Nottingham.

This can be achieved by extending Robin Hood Line trains from Worksop to Cleethorpes every two hours.

However, the single-line sections between Gainsborough Central and Barnetby precludes a more frequent service.

NNLCRP have an online survey which readers are urged to complete at: https://eSurv.org?u=NNLCRP

Meanwhile enjoy the rest of the summer and do take a ride on the Saturday-only Brigg Line train from Gainsborough Central to Cleethorpes.

And on August 27 Brigg’s farmers market, when the whole town centre comes alive, is taking place.