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TONY CAVE COLUMN: Train fares rise and passenger numbers continue to increase

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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FARES INCREASE

The train fares increase was introduced on March 5.

Carlton to Nottingham Anytime Day Return is now £5.00. An Of- Peak Return (after 09.00 Mon-Fri. and for the rest of the day) is now £3.40. A single is £3.30. Off Peak is available all day Sat. & Sun. and Bank Holidays.

Carlton to Newark – an Anytime Day Return is now £7.60. Off Peak Return £7.40. Single £6.90. Robin Hood Day tickets can be purchased on the train and Season Tickets are also valid.

CARLTON STATION

Bicycle hoops have been installed. Two are on platform 1 and six are in the car park. However, I cannot see anyone risking leaving their cycles at these locations which are well out of sight. It also means we lose three car parking spaces which will make it difficult now more people are using the train. Pre-covid, the car park was full by 9am on some days.

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Platform seats have been replaced, although we still only have one on each platform. The old seats were installed around 2008 and were recycled from Nottingham station, still retaining their green Central Trains paint right until the end. Prior to 2008 the only seats we had were in the shelters.

Over 50 train services are due to be re-instated from the May timetable change, so it is hoped we have a full service like the one that ran for a short time in May 2021. Trains which are currently ‘temporarily suspended’ are Mon.-Fri. 10.04 and 15.02 to Newark, and 19.39 to Lincoln. 11.03, 16.03 to Crewe and 22.25 to Nottingham. Saturdays. 08.34 and 19.36 to Lincoln, 10.02 & 15.02 to Newark. 11.03 & 16.03 to Crewe.

Pre-covid passenger numbers have risen to 57,552 (2019/20), but this did not record those using Robin Hood tickets, and I think we were getting nearer to 100,000 going on my observations. Now that I am a full-time carer for my mother, I only get to the station on Friday mornings and occasionally other times when I must water the plants in summer. However, passenger numbers are looking good. For instance, on four Fridays from Jan 20 to Feb 24, (Feb 3 was a strike day), passengers joining and alighting the 09.03 to Crewe were 11, 15, 16 and 18. On Feb 17, the 10.02 to Crewe had 18 and 2 children join (half-term week). Many are using the train for the first time, judging by the questions I am asked. Also three people who alighted from the 08.41 to Grimsby should not have been on the train. One thought it was the Norwich train and two others seemed to have missed the Nottingham stop! Later in the day the 16.03 to Newark had 1 join and 5 and 2 children alight, and the train was full.

NETHERFIELD

I presume the seat at Netherfield has been replaced, but I have not been recently. Bicycle hoops were provided here a while ago.

In the Community Rail Network Awards 20221 the Netherfield bridge artwork was short-listed in the Community Creative Projects & Station Arts section. It was up against stiff opposition from other projects in the country. Although it didn’t win, EMR said ‘To be shortlisted was a great achievement in its own right’.

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Netherfield railway bridge sign

Also shortlisted for Best Community Engagement Project were Friends of Lowdham and Burton Joyce stations for their work on 175 years of the Castle Line. EMR did have commendations for other projects throughout their area including a First Place.


PASSENGER NUMBERS IN ENGLAND, SCOTLAND & WALES

Latest figures for the 3 months to September 30, 2022 are that 359 million passenger journeys were made, which is 80.3% of figures pre-covid. Numbers vary, with the East Coast Main Line (ECML) which runs through Grantham and Newark having the best figures. LNER the main operator saw 105.7% (5.7% higher), with other operators on the same route also showing increases. It seems that competition works, as on the West Coast Route (London Euston to Glasgow) with Avanti West Coast the only operator of through services, a dismal 64.5% was recorded. On comparable routes that have a franchised operator with a monopoly, only EMR has captured its original market presence, as it carried 99.9% of the previous passenger numbers. I hope Carlton’s numbers will return to what we had pre-covid and then continue to increase, and the same for Netherfield.

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

LINCOLN CHRISTMAS MARKET – It has been decided to no longer hold this event. So many people visited and this made it uncomfortable in a small area. It also cost £260,000 to stage the event. Instead, there will be several smaller events throughout the year. There have been objections to this decision as the event has been held for 40 years. Nottingham Christmas Market has invited Lincoln stallholders to their event

LNER (Kings Cross to Edinburgh) – are introducing single tickets only from the Spring. These tickets will be priced at half the return fare. Other companies may follow.

TRAIN CHANGES – At least all the single coach (class 153) trains have now been removed from East Midlands Railway (EMR). They are still used elsewhere. The body of one which was used by EMR, is to become a community cafe and hub at the Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr preserved railway near Cvnheidre, South Wales All class 156 diesel units operated by EMR are due to be transferred away by the time of the May timetable change. All our local services will be class 170 diesel units, with class 158s being used on the Norwich to Liverpool services.

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PICTURED: The Class 153 train

REFURBISHMENTS – Toilets and waiting rooms at Derby and Nottingham are being refurbished with work due to be completed in March.

AND FINALLY…

The Smart ticket machines just installed at our stations, aren’t quite as smart as I thought, as if you book online you cannot collect the ticket from these machines. You will still need to go to a ticket vending machine in Nottingham. However, can collect a ticket from a Smart Kiosk if you book online if have a Smart Card to add it to. You can’t collect Ticket on Departure (TOD) tickets, but you can collect EMR Smartcard tickets purchased online – I hope that helps

Most asked question: Are we going to get the Matlock trains back. Unfortunately, there are no plans for this to happen. They will be running from Nottingham in May.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Well done, Tony. Such a lovely bloke and always on hand to offer train advice at the station. A Pride of Gedling nominee of the future – surely?

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