TONY CAVE: New franchise will deliver many improvements to local rail network

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New East Midlands trains franchise

Abellio UK take over the franchise from Stagecoach on August 18 and it will become East Midlands Railway (EMR).

The franchise is due to last until 2027 with possible extensions. However you won’t notice any changes for a while, and many of the train service alterations will not be introduced until 2021.

So here is a summary of what is planned:

1) An 80% increase in the number of seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St. Pancras in the morning peak.

2) A trial of hydrogen fuel cell trains on Midland Main Line.

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3) A C16.8 million station improvements fund, including 6 stations with zero emissions.

4) Nottingham to Skegness. Additional peak services between Grantham and Nottingham and early morning and later evening Nottingham to Boston services. Enhanced all year Sunday service and refurbished modern trains.

5) 2 trains per hour between Nottingham and Newark Castle for a longer period each day. 2 Lincoln to St. Pancras and return trains per day.

6) A new Nottingham to Grimsby service, with some continuing to Cleethorpes.

7) New Sunday services from Nottingham to Worksop, Lincoln and Doncaster (direct), and the Lincoln to Grimsby service will operate all year.

8) Ticket purchasing facilities will be introduced at all stations, and flexipass tickets will be available for regular passengers who travel less than 5 days per week.

9) Derby to Crewe services will be extended to Nottingham, and I have heard that they will continue to Newark in place of the Matlock trains – which is not so good.

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10) The Norwich to Liverpool service will be split at Nottingham, with trains from Norwich continuing to Derby, and possibly Matlock.

11) All trains will be replaced by new or refurbished stock between 2020 and December 2022. At the end of 2019 the single class 153 units will be withdrawn to be replaced by 156 (2-car) units cascaded from East Anglia, so the end of 1 coach trains.

12) Extra cycle spaces. Perhaps Carlton will finally have cycle spaces. There is more, but I have tried to list what affects us.

Carlton Station news

The flowers in the station garden have this year been sponsored by Netherfield Eco Action Team (NEAT) who are keen to promote greener methods of transport, and hope the flowers will brighten up the station. NEAT hold plant stalls in Netherfield, and in the past have had a cotton bag campaign.

They are keen to help the environment and provide help and support to those who wish to make changes to this end. They would love to hear your views and ideas how NEAT could be a hub of green change in our area. They have a facebook page – Netherfield Eco Action Team (NEAT) – please drop by and leave them a message.

I did a couple of early morning visits on Tuesday May 14 and Wednesday 15 and saw all nine trains between 06.01 and 09.05.

On 14, there were 99 passengers (87 on and 12 off) and on 15, 109 (97 on and 12 off). This compares with Wednesday, May 9, 2018 when I saw 99 (85 on and 14 off). So not much change.

Very few come to work in our area as there are no direct trains from the Derby direction until 08.58, and no trains for people who start work at 08.00. Some off-peak trains have good numbers, with 24 joining the 09.05 on Wednesday, June 5. I also saw 19 adults and 5 children joining the 10.07 Matlock on Saturday, May 11. A couple of Thursdays I noticed 23 off the 16.55 Newark.

Nearly every week now the 11.24 Saturday Carlton to Leicester is crowded, so if possible use the 11.08 and change at Nottingham for Leicester.

Local timetables are available in the Waiting Room Coffee shop, which is now open opposite the station. Travelling in the Nottingham direction and you can pick up a drink (be eco-friendly and provide your own container) and wait there until the level crossing barriers come down for your train. 8.30am to 3pm weekdays and 9am to 1pm Saturdays.

No trains for three days at Carlton

On Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, August 24-26, the railway crossing at Newark, where the Nottingham to Lincoln line crosses the East Coast Main Line, is being renewed. This means a replacement bus service between Nottingham and Newark and Nottingham and Lincoln.

Buses for stations to Newark will call at the No. 44 bus stop on Victoria Road (Gedling direction), and for Nottingham at the stop opposite Garnet Street (Colwick direction). Journeys will be extended and times are available on line, with poster timetables on the station nearer the time.

Netherfield Station news

On Thursday, May 14, 26 passengers (17 on and 9 off) used the three morning trains. 26 again on May 15 (16 on and 10 off). On Wednesday, 9, it was 28 (15 on and 13 off), so not much change. However the 08.33 Liverpool now has more joining, quite often in double figures and on Wednesday, June 19 a record 28 joined. Unfortunately this was the day a tree was on the line at Newark and the 08.08 Matlock was cancelled, so for many the 08.33 is their plan B.

As you will see, we should get more trains at Netherfield from 2021, with extra trains planned on the Nottingham to Grantham line, as per the franchise commitment.

It pays to talk

Recent research has shown that people who talk to strangers on buses and trains, find it gives a boost to their wellbeing. Of course the other person has to be communicative, but you can soon tell when you open up a conversation, usually about the weather, if the other person wishes to continue. So give it a try, I can vouch for it! Years ago Central Trains encouraged passengers to talk to each other.

One Saturday a lady got off the 09.55 from Nottingham and asked directions to Carlton Square. An hour later she reappeared to catch the 11.08 back to Nottingham. “I’ve been to look at a flat I have bought”, she said, which seemed to be to her satisfaction. “I’m now returning to London I thought that moving from London to Carlton would be quite a difference.” I pointed out all the advantages of the area. However she had actually bought the flat to rent out, so I was able to give her information useful to whoever rents the flat from her. Just one of many conversations I strike up in my role of Station Adopter.

I think my ‘job’ will be secure, as the new franchisee has promised to extend Station Adoption. So if you want to join us, now is the time.

News in brief

PETITION: A petition for 26-30 Railcards to be available as. a paper card, rather than a digital product –

ACCESS MAP: A new “Access Map” for passengers with mobility issues has been published so they can obtain information about accessibility at stations – —–

WALKWAY CLOSED: The walkway from Lister Gate to Collin Street through the Broad Marsh shopping Centre will be closed overnight from 19.00 to 07.00 for work on the redevelopment of the Centre. Alternative route via Maid Marian Way, so allow extra time if walking to the station

NO DEATHS: 2018 was the 11th consecutive year during which no passenger was killed in a derailment or train collision on the national rail network

DERWENT LINE: A new Derwent Valley Line Activity Book is available, which also gives walking trails from each station. I have copies, whilst stocks last.

RAIL HUB: a £2bn Midlands Rail Hub project has been announced to cut journey times between the East and West Midlands. Nottingham to Birmingham to be 59 minutes and a new Nottingham to Coventry via Leicester service in 63 minutes. Planned to be completed in stages between 2026 and 2033. Midlands Connect has submitted the business case to the Dept. for Transport and requested £25m to bring the project to the outline business case.

You can contact Tony Cave by email at [email protected]


  1. Thanks Tony for the update and all the work you do on behalf of the community.I can’t help feeling that the Department of Transport is failing rail users as we have had no meaningful communication from them about the rail franchises in terms of the award and design process.Your article published in the press is the first to talk about frequency and route patterns and the future for rolling stock provision for the East Midlands.Living in Grimsby i am pleased that we can look forward to better services.Thanks again


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