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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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TONY CAVE COLUMN: New figures show local station usage is on the rise

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

TIMETABLE CHANGES: No changes at Carlton or Netherfield apart from some retimings of between one and three minutes. 17.54 Nottingham to Newark now leaves at 18.00 Mon.-Fri., Carlton 18.07.

Other changes on the East Midlands Railway (EMR) network, are Mon.-Fri. 05.53 & 16.16 Nottingham to Crewe reinstated and 08.10 & 18.10 return. Pre-covid two of these services ran to or from Newark. 11.39 Nottingham to Norwich starts back at Liverpool at 08.51. Some trains on the Liverpool to Norwich route are now six-car class 170′, such as the 06.35 Nottingham to Liverpool. The first and last trains from Worksop now start from Mansfield Woodhouse and the 22.22 from Nottingham terminates at Mansfield Woodhouse. Cross Country Trains have now re-instated the hourly Nottingham to Birmingham services, so making 2 trains an hour to Birmingham, the other service to Cardiff.

Estimated station usage figures 2022/23

This covers the period from 1st April 2022 until 31st March 2023. On a number of days no trains ran owing to industrial action and at least two weekends of engineering work, buses replacing trains. Figures for 2021/22 in brackets.

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Burton Joyce : 9,426 (6,146)

Carlton: 36,846 (27,610)

Netherfield: 6,946 (5,556)

However, I believe the number of passengers at Carlton is double the estimated figures, as many people use the Robin Hood card which does not show as a journey to or from Carlton. Here is my reasoning: we have 225 trains a week. Over 50 weeks (2 weeks lost as mentioned above) that is 11,250. This means an average of just over three passengers per train. So for 3 days recently I saw 5 trains between the 08.43 and 11.05. I counted 36 one day and 42 on two other days joining and alighting. It is estimated 120 passengers use Carlton on weekdays. So on the 3 days mentioned, according to official figures, only 2% of people used the other 31 trains including at ‘rush hour’! Pre-covid I suggested we were approaching 100,000 per annum.

An additional statistic this year is ‘Main origin or destination station’. Carlton has 8,654 travelling to and from Nottingham. In 2020/1 when consultations were held re­garding train services it was said, “the vast majority of passengers using the Matlock service from Carlton only travel as far as Nottingham’. Even with the usage of Robin Hood tickets, which are not counted, the vast majority do not travel to Nottingham, many using the cards to travel to Beeston for example. Interestingly, at Bulwell (also available with Robin Hood tickets), the vast majority from that station travel to Mansfield (12,238 out of 56,336). There is more I could say, but space is running out. Trains not re-instated which we lost during covid, for example

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NETHERFIELD STATION

Of the 6,946 passengers in 2022/3, 1,780 travelled to Nottingham, but again this does not include Robin Hood Tickets. Will we ever get a better train service here? Well, devolution for the East Midlands (actually Nottingham City and County and Derby City and County) will take effect from May 2024. Transport and Housing will be among the areas where powers currently held by national politicians in Westminster will be de­volved to leaders in the East Midlands. £4 billion will be allotted to the new authority which will ‘improve our roads and public transport’.

Some years ago when East Midlands Trains took over the franchise, one of the requirements laid down by the Department for Transport was that a train from Netherfield should arrive in Nottingham before 08.45 for school children. You can just imagine a clerk in their office saying, ‘there aren’t many trains call at Netherfield, it must be a village near Nottingham, so we had better give them a train for school children, as I suppose they don’t have a Secondary school in their area’. Well, I never saw a school child join the 08.31, and I used to be at the station most days to see this train. Occasionally a school child would alight from this train. I think it is time I put my ‘soap box’ away, but you can see how frustrating it is trying to get more trains at Netherfield.

EMR NEWS

EMR has launched a £3 million project to replace standard-class seat covers and foam padding used on its Intercity fleet (London services). 5,272 standard-class seats and 243 tip-up seats will be changed to a neutral grey colour and will be re­furbished during routine maintenance. Old materials will be recycled, the foam being used to make rubberised safety matting in children’s play areas.

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Class 158 and 170 units used on Regional services (that’s us!) will be undergoing a refurbishment and refresh this year.

Work is continually taking place at stations on the EMR network, replacing damaged or vandalised panels in waiting shelters, installing new benches at all stations and other work. I have requested extra benches at Carlton so we will have to wait and see,

An EMR Station Adopters newsletter outlines other activities that have taken place such as Remembrance services at Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield. Also a week in the life of the Commercial Director. One thing caught my eye: ‘We have recently seen high levels of growth on Lincoln services due to a new medical college opening, and so we are looking at whether we can provide additional capacity on some of these trains.’

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

  • Ticket offices to stay open: MP for Newark also said that £350m will be invested in making stations accessible, arid he is hoping this will include Bingham station
  • ­New restaurant: An Italian restaurant is expanding and will take over a unit at Newark Castle station. Rella Vita, already in Ollerton, is expected to open in January.
  • Skegness Station Revamp: £3.3m has been allocated to improve Skegness station. The layout of the station will be reconfigured to improve passenger flow. Phase 1 is the conversion of a disused building at the front of the station into a new passenger area, including a cafe and shops. It is also planned to link the railway hub to the bus station, with work continuing throughout 2024.
  • Beeston improvements: Planning application has been made to replace the timber in the waiting shelters at Beeston, and the felt roof, plus repaint shelters and benches. Lifts are to be installed.
  • QR Codes: QR codes at Regional stations will provide details on next 3 trains. Codes will be placed on stickers in waiting rooms or platforms
  • Fare rise: Rail fares to rise up to 4.9% from March.

Spotted something? Got a story? Email our newsdesk news@gedlingeye.co.uk

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