Guest Column: New trains will be a huge boost to the town
It has been reported that Northern is finalising the timetable for a new train service to Gainsborough Central, due to start in December.
It is 25 years since trains have called at Gainsborough Central six days a week.
Now, not only is there to be trains Monday to Saturday, they will be hourly.
This is something Gainsborough Central station has never experienced since it opened in 1849.
The new service 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 West Lindsey Council, Bassetlaw Council and Lincolnshire County Council with Arriva Rail North.
These negotiations arose from the efforts of the North Notts and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership, formed just a year ago.
However, campaigns to secure a regular train service to Gainsborough Central had been ongoing at various times over the past 25 years.
Of course 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 entice 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 enable 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 Central and Lea Road stations).
Meanwhile Network Rail has prepared for the new service by renewing signals and points at Gainsborough Central.
A major restoration project is also underway at Worksop.
Meanwhile, Virgin Trains East Coast has improved the waiting areas at Retford by fitting doors, windows and air conditioning.
Gainsborough Central station, in its present state, is not fit to host an hourly train service, so watch out for improvements at the site between now and December.
Once the new train service demonstrates that it is bringing people into our town centre, passengers can expect further improvements to the station and its environment.
North Notts and Lincs Community Rail Partnership will work closely with West Lindsey Council and engage the wider community, not forgetting local schools, in the new train service.
As chairman of the Community Rail Partnership I wish to thank all those who helped us achieve this first feather in our cap.