Business leaders, retailers and commuters celebrated the return of an hourly weekday train service at Lincolnshire’s Gainsborough Central Station.
For the first time since 1993 – the station, which is situated in the town centre close to the award winning Marshall’s Yard, saw the return of an hourly week day service.
At 11 am a celebration train, which was specially named ‘Discover Gainsborough’, arrived at the platform carrying commuters and train enthusiasts.
School children from Parish School in the town, donned special t-shirts spelling out Gainsborough to welcome commuters.
Northern hosted a special celebration on the platform to mark the investment and to thank everyone involved in making the service return.
Northern interim Regional Director East, Steve Hopkinson said: “At northern we’re really excited about the new train service, 1993 is a long time ago and we’re really looking forward to seeing how it grows and develops and what it does for Gainsborough. Critically the Gainsborough Central service will take people right into the heart of town, a town that is growing. People can take the train, get off it and within a minute are in the heart of the town.”
Lydia Rusling, Chief Executive of Visit Lincoln, attended the celebration event for the new service. She welcomed it as a great opportunity to improve connectivity in Lincolnshire.
She said: “Greater connectivity is really important in terms of linking different cities and places. This new service will hopefully see more people coming into Gainsborough and exploring the area around here. In particular, next year we’ve got the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower and there’s a lot of celebrations across the whole of the country, including in Gainsborough. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from America and from across the UK and obviously the connections to this area are really important.”
Cllr Steve England, who is the new Chairman of West Lindsey District Council welcomed the benefits this would bring to the town.
He said: “This new service at Gainsborough Central Station is another catalyst for our town centre regeneration. This service has been possible because of collaboration and community leadership. Through joint working we’ve created further opportunity for people to discover our wonderful town.”
Barry Coward, Chairman of the North Notts and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership has been campaigning for the station to be used more effectively for some time.
He said: “This new service is very important because it’s going to improve the number of people who are going to be visiting Gainsborough. Experience elsewhere suggests that once transport improves it stimulates the local economy. Improvements also result in communities taking a pride their stations. For us this is the first step in continuing to improve connectivity for people in North Notts and Lincolnshire.”
The station has seen a number of improvements over the last few months including: a new shelter, seating, signage, painting and planters.
This has been possible thanks to investment from Northern, Lincolnshire County Council and West Lindsey District Council and the NNLCRP.
The celebration event was also supported by Dransfield Properties. All involved used the event as an opportunity to look to the future and ensure the continued success of the new service.