Rail campaigners continue fight for better Brigg Line service through Gainsborough

The footbridge which is a recent addition at Gainsborough Central station.
The footbridge which is a recent addition at Gainsborough Central station.

Last weekend marked 24 years since the withdrawal of a weekday rail passenger service on the Brigg Line through Gainsborough.

The line now only has three Northern-operated trains a week in each direction, on a Saturday only, which call at Gainsborough Central, Kirton Lindsey and Brigg on the journey between Sheffield and Cleethorpes.

Paul Johnson, from the Brigg Line Group.

Paul Johnson, from the Brigg Line Group.

Since the withdrawal, campaigners and councillors have been trying to bring back a regular service and restore the station, which over the years has fallen into a state of disrepair.

Paul Johnson, a member of the Brigg Line Group, said: “Monday October 1 may have been a time to celebrate Lincolnshire Day, but on the railway it was another year since the withdrawal of a weekday Sheffield to Cleethorpes, via Gainsborough Central, passenger service back in 1993.

“Despite the Brigg Line only having a Saturday-only service now, the hard work of the Brigg Line Rail Group and the newly-formed North Notts and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership means more people are learning about Gainsborough Central and its services, through the popular Gainsborough Travel Guide and via social media.

“It is hoped in the near future that some form of hourly six-day-a-week service will return to Central, thus unlocking new visitors the town. This will also mean the right investment at the station and not the £40,000 footbridge as supplied by Network Rail.”

Councillor Paul Key, Lincolnshire County Council member for Gainsborough Trent, said: “The council is currently negotiating with Arriva - which runs the Northern franchise - to bring trains from Sheffield to Gainsborough Central every hour between 7am and 7pm each weekday.

“A successful outcome will boost the Gainsborough economy, not only through people coming to shop and visit, but also to make the town more attractive to new residents.”

A Northern spokesman said: “During the next three years, Northern will deliver a modernisation programme that will transform rail travel in the north of England.

“Our modernisation programme includes a range of service and route improvements that will be introduced progressively during the next three years.

“We are now finalising the consultation on proposed improvements for introduction in the May 2018 timetable.

“Such improvements are anticipated to include routes in Lincolnshire and more details will be released once the process is complete.”

Barry Coward, North Notts and Lincs community rail partnership chairman, said his group had also responded to the Department for Transport’s ongoing consultation concerning the East Midlands franchise.

Their call is for journeys of Robin Hood Line trains between Nottingham and Worksop to be extended on to Cleethorpes, via Gainsborough Central.

This consultation closes on Wednesday, October 11 and can be found at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-east-midlands-rail-franchise.

If proposals for an increased service at Gainsborough Central come to fruition, the station would have more trains serving it than at any other time in its 168-year history.