Our resident train expert updates us with the latest news from the local railways this September.
September 11 is the last Sunday for the 12.18pm service from Netherfield and Nottingham and also the 16.10pm and 17.52pm service from Carlton to Nottingham.
Correction to the timetable leaflet no.8 – 19.47pm Newark to Matlock service does not call at Burton Joyce. Carlton 20.08 service arrives at Nottingham at 20.16pm and departs at 20.20pm and arrives into Beeston at 20.25pm and Attenborough at 20.29pm then as shown. Posters and website timetables are correct.
Although Radcliffe is to get five more trains a day from December, these will not call at Netherfield. Gedling Borough Council are however, keen to have Netherfield included, but this is unlikely before May 2017. Radcliffe will gain trains at 10.08am, 15.10pm and 21.06pm to Nottingham and 06.50am and 14.55pm to Skegness. I’m being kept informed by Radcliffe Parish Council, whose aspiration, like ours, is for an hourly service.
On Sunday, October 30, buses will replace trains between Sleaford and Skegness.
On Saturday, August 13, 70 people were waiting on the platform as the 17.50pm train to Skegness rolled in. However, they were actually there to see a steam special come through at 18.04pm from Chesterfield to Kings Cross hauled by a Pacific class locomotive ‘Tornado’. These were common on the East Coast Mainline in steam days, but this locomotive was actually built in 2008, based on the original design, so ironically is newer than the diesel train on the Skegness service. It was interesting that a lot of families turned out to see it and not just us old steam buffs. When I returned to Carlton, I had to disappoint about 10 people who were waiting there to see it by mistake.
Spotted at Netherfield station – A person steps off the 08.51am train and goes up the steps to the entrance and then returns saying “I’m looking for a taxi rank”. Two visitors from China get off the 8.33am train with two large suitcases and ask for directions to a restaurant. I tell them I will take them to the Corner Café in Netherfield. They insist I have a coffee with them, so for the sake of international relations, thought I ought to accept. They were on an annual business trip to the UK and were visiting a firm in Colwick before going on to Stoke-on-Trent.
Passenger numbers seem to be increasing. Looking back at week ending August 22, 2015, there were seven on and one off the 08.02 Newark over five days. This year there were six on and six off. 08.08am train to Matlock in 2015 had 70 people, in 2016 this is 105.
With more people travelling on trains from Carlton, the train conductor is often unable to issue tickets to everyone. If you are on a train from Nottingham without a ticket you should always say you came from Carlton or Netherfield and were unable to get a ticket on the train into Nottingham.
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“Why can’t we have more trains on a Sunday?” This is a question I am asked time and time again. Well, one of the obstacles in providing a better train service between Nottingham and Lincoln (via Carlton) is the cost of opening the signal boxes on the line. However, current plans are that these will be abolished later this year and replaced by new signalling controlled from Derby signalling centre and therefore costs of running trains will be reduced on Sundays. The new franchise should include this as one improvement the new franchisee is required to provide.
So, if you wish to record history, now is the time to visit Lowdham and Fiskerton stations, and especially Fiskerton which is a gate box, the crossing gates being operated manually by the signaller, something that has changed very little since Victorian times.
Other signal boxes affected are Fiskerton Junction, Staythorpe Crossing and Newark Castle. Attempts are being made to save Newark Castle box but this is unlikely due to being too close to the track. Lowdham box is however, subject to a planning application to have it transferred to land belonging to the station house who you might have guessed – is a railway enthusiast.
A number of people have been seen recently going onto the platform, staying for a short time and then leaving. When I asked one family if they would like a timetable, they said, “We’re playing the Pokemon Go game”.
On Sunday, September 25 buses replace trains between Nottingham and Newark.
The East Midlands Trains franchise is due to be renewed in Spring 2018 and it is time for the consultation stage where submissions are made by stakeholders as to what improvements they wish to see to train services in the area. The case for Carlton and Netherfield will be made by Gedling Borough Council and this will include an hourly service at Netherfield and for the Lincoln to London St Pancras service to call at Carlton at 07.48am and 20.36pm on return.
September 23 is the annual Station Adopters Meeting at Derby where we meet East Midlands Trains managers to ask questions, and also to find out what is happening in the area, with a buffet meal included. I have plenty of questions to ask. Why do two people working in Bingham have to go from Carlton at 07.11am to Nottingham, pass back through Netherfield at 07.42am, with the same rigmarole on the way home and pay £9.40 instead of just over £4.00 if they travelled from Netherfield?
I have heard representations have been made to reinstate the mid-morning train service from local stations to Lincoln.
Have you a question for Tony? Leave it in the comments section below and we’ll pass it on