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TONY CAVE COLUMN: An hourly service at Carlton again would be just the ticket for local rail passengers

Tony Cave is a train station adopter who looks after Carlton and Netherfield. He also provides Gedling Eye readers with the latest news from our local railways...

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CARLTON & NETHERFIELD STATION UPDATES

‘There have been a few disruptions over the past two months with a viaduct replacement at Newark meaning nine days of a shuttle service between Nottingham and Newark from 2nd to 10th Sept. The 2nd was a strike day and again on 30th Sept. and 4th Oct. followed by Storm Babet on 20th Oct with no Nottingham to Newark trains, and a few missing on 21st. I took advantage of the retimed trains at the beginning of Sept, to go to Chesterfield so that on return into Nottingham at 10.59am I could catch the 11.10am to Carlton. Usually I have a 59 minute wait as the train for Carlton leaves at 10.58.

I have seen the 10.02 train to Crewe on several occasions, and those joining and alighting usually add up to double figures. Quite a number of people come to Carlton Station for information, even if they are tech savvy. Questions asked include: “We’re going to Glasgow via Crewe, which platform do we want?” ”We are going to Kettering tomorrow (Sunday), is there a train to Nottingham to connect?” I had to tell them that we only have one morning train on Sundays and one from Netherfield

On Sun, October 22 I came down to see what was happening to the trains at Netherfield as they had been cancelled owing to flooding. The two evening trains were both cancelled and a Peterborough train calling in lieu was also cancelled. Back at Carlton at 17.20 and a person came onto the platform to ask if there was a train to Nottingham after 23.00 as his son was having to work late. I gave him the information and what platform and ticket details, which he relayed by ‘phone to his son. He thanked me for the help I had given saying: “It was a good job you were here as I would not have known what to do.” Later I was going across the level crossing and a person walked off platform 1 and over the crossing, so I asked if he was ok and he said, “‘what platform do I want for Nottingham?”. There are 2 trains on Sunday at 17.33 – one for Nottingham and one for Lincoln.

Station adopter Danny and I planted the winter bedding plants at Carlton on Oct. 5th. This time we have been given money from Netherfield Eco Action Group, which has now been dis­banded, and we thank them for helping to keep Carlton Station looking attractive.

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I find the ticket machines at both stations useful to see how the trains are running, however, when there is a problem with the machine, a message appears on the screen, usually showing train departures, to say ‘There are currently no services’, which I took to mean no train services, whereas in actual fact the machine is saying that it cannot provide tickets, so no ticket service. I have mentioned this to East Midlands Railway (EMR), and others have too, to see if the message can be changed to something like ‘Currently unable to provide tickets’, which would be more clearer.

STATION ADOPTERS ANNUAL CONFERENCE

I was able to attend this year’s conference which was held at the Museum of Making in Derby. It commenced at 10.45am and concluded at 15.35pm.

After initial introductions, there were workshops we could attend, with lunch in between the 2nd and 3rd of the workshops.

I chose Network Rail for the first, and this was all about the Midland Main Line electrification, the next stage being Market Harborough to Wigston, where Leicester to Birmingham trains branch off the Main Line. I asked a question about the level crossing barriers at Carlton, which often get stuck down. I asked if notices could be put up, like they have at Newark, to say if the barriers are down for more than five minutes, contact Network Rail on the number given. They said they could see no reason why not, so we will see if anything happens.

Nothing specifically affecting our stations was mentioned in the next three workshops.

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I returned on the 16.23 to Carlton, which was a few minutes late, so we were held at Long Eaton Junction, east of Trent, for a London train to pass. The guard helpfully announced, “Sorry for the delay, it will only be a few minutes as we are waiting for an express train to pass us”. It is always good when announcements such as this are made.

MPs all aboard for rail improvements

A group of nine MPs came together calling for improvements to services on the Crewe to Newark Castle (via Carlton) line.

The MPs have made the case for a half-hourly service for the line and a full Sunday service beyond the additional rolling stock and the reintroduction of extra weekday services for December.

Their letter was sent to Transport Secretary Mark Harper.

The MPs concerned have constituencies through which the line passes and includes our local MP Tom Randall.

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As the organiser of this petition said, “We know there is huge potential to grow the usage of this line, but they, like me, will know all too well how the current level of services is a hindrance to our residents taking the train.” Hear! hear! – the last 2 words added by me!

For a start perhaps we could have the trains missing each weekday since covid, restored so that we have an hourly service at Carlton. These trains are still missing in the December 2023 timetable, although I believe there are extra trains on the Nottingham to Crewe service. They also currently have trains a day missing.

EMR

Bugs: EMR has increased its vigilance for bed bugs on trains. An EMR spokesperson said they have the expertise and experience of deep cleaning gained during the pandemic.

“We have not had any cases of bed bugs but as a pre-emptive step we have increased our vigilance for bugs, including nightly inspections of seats and other soft furnishings. Hoovering of seats has also been increased during these nightly cleans.”

Accessible Journey Planning: EMR has created online virtual tours of several stations to help customers plan their journey – particularly benefitting disabled and anxious customers. Virtual tours currently include Derby, Sheffield, Nottingham, Lincoln and lettering. They have been meticulously mapped using detailed 360-degree photography, allowing users to virtually navigate through all public spaces. Access to all public areas including toilets, customer service desks, platforms, as well as other areas such as car parks and drop-off locations.

Award: EMR has been recognised by a national charity for providing an autism-friendly environment. The award by the National Autistic Society, is in recognition of EMR’s autism-friendly practices and demonstrates it has met a certain set of stand­ards to offer its customers an autism-friendly service.

OTHER ITEMS

  • After the scrapping of the Northern legs of HS2, it is hoped that upgrading the Nottingham to Lincoln line will still go ahead.
  • I have seen no mention of the proposed ‘Maid Marian Line’ or extension of the Robin Hood Line to Ollerton. Even the Ivanhoe Line (Leicester to Burton) appears to have initially been reduced to a Coalville to Burton or perhaps Derby service owing to the cost of re­connecting it to the Midland Main Line to provide a west-to-north curve at Leicester.
  • No trains run locally on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but a service is usually provided on New Year’s Day

You can email Tony Cave for more information about the local railways at tonycavedbs@hotmail.com

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