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Gainsborough Central railway station - Wikipedia

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Gainsborough Central railway station is one of two railway stations in the town of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England. The station is on the Brigg branch of the Sheffield-Lincoln line. Services are currently operated by Northern Trains.[1][2]

The town's other station is the busier Gainsborough Lea Road.


The station was opened by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) on 2 April 1849.[3][4] The opening day was a gala occasion, shops were closed and the town was full of visitors. The station off Spring Gardens was crowded with onlookers, and at noon the train whistle was heard in the distance. Some hundreds of people saw 'a veritable locomotive on a line of railway at Gainsborough' for the first time. It came over the track by a wooden trestle bridge across the Humble Carr and backed into the station. The directors of the line and the chief engineer were greeted by leading inhabitants and then went in procession to the old coaching inn, the White Hart, for a champagne lunch.[5]

The station buildings were designed by architects Weightman and Hadfield. A substantial stone frontage with full-height portico with 4 attached Roman Ionic columns and triple arcade with moulded round arches.[6]

The MS&LR became the Great Central Railway (GCR) on 1 August 1897,[7] which in turn amalgamated with other railways to form the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at the end of 1922.[8] The LNER inherited two stations in Gainsborough, and to distinguish them, the ex-GCR station was renamed Gainsborough Central in September 1923.[3] The station buildings were demolished in 1975, leaving just the two platforms and a footbridge over the two railway lines.[5]

Weekday passenger services (which had been thrice-daily each way between Sheffield and Cleethorpes since the early 1980s)[9] were withdrawn by British Rail in October 1993 leaving only three trains in each direction running on Saturdays.[10][11] In the Strategic Rail Authority's 2002/3 financial year, only 5 fare-paying people (excluding season ticket holders) boarded trains at Gainsborough Central station, and 3 disembarked, making it the least busy station in Great Britain, alongside Barry Links.[12] The 2004/05 figures suggested 21 passengers used the station that year, putting it slightly above Watford West, a station closed since 1996 and on a line which is currently missing both track and bridges.

The line through the station was upgraded and refurbished in 2008 by contractors Arup and Carillon to allow it to carry increased levels of freight traffic from the port complex at Immingham to South Yorkshire and the East Midlands.[13] This was done to reduce congestion on the busy route via Scunthorpe.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the Brigg and Lincoln Line, who come under the umbrella of the Lincolnshire Branch of Railfuture,[14] was campaigning for the introduction of regular weekday services.[15] This was finally achieved in May 2019 when Northern introduced an hourly service between Gainsborough Central and Sheffield on weekdays and Saturdays, the most regular service the station has received since 1849.[16] Although it falls outside Northern's franchise commitments, the operator agreed to run the service without extra subsidy, with West Lindsey District Council agreeing to fund improvements to the station and signage.[17] The new services utilise trains and crew which would otherwise have waited 40 minutes at Retford.[18] Stopping at all stations, it now allows the Lincoln to Sheffield service to run non-stop between Worksop and Sheffield as part of the new Northern Connect network.[19] Just eight months later however, the regular service was suspended again due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, with no confirmed date of when services will restart.


Gainsborough Central station is situated close to Gainsborough steel stock holders (since moved) and the new Marshalls Yard Shopping Centre.


The station is unstaffed and had relatively basic facilities. The station has a self-service ticket machine for ticket purchases.

The station has a small cycle rack at the entrance and car parking is available at the nearby Marshalls Yard Shopping Centre.

Step-free access is available to both platforms at the station.[20]


As of May 2019, the typical off-peak service at the station is served by one train per hour to Sheffield via Worksop which starts and terminates at Gainsborough Central.[21][22]

On Saturdays, three trains per day continue beyond the station to Cleethorpes via Brigg.

There is no evening (after approx 19:15) or Sunday service at the station although the nearby Gainsborough Lea Road is served at these times.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular hourly service has been temporarily suspended and the station is currently served by four trains per day to Sheffield on weekdays to Sheffield as well as the three Saturday services between Sheffield and Cleethorpes.[23]


One of the station name signs in 2019


  1. ^ "Train times, Sheffield to Gainsborough to Lincoln/Cleethorpes" (PDF). Northern. Northern. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Gainsborough's new weekday rail service is moving forward after delays". Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 100. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
  4. ^ Historic England. "Gainsborough Central (499039)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b Beckwith, Ian S (1988). The Book of Gainsborough. Quotes Ltd.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Erroneous listing as though the station was still standing  (Grade II) (1168462)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 May 2013.[dead link]
  7. ^ Dow, George (1962). Great Central, Volume Two: Dominion of Watkin, 1864-1899. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 297. ISBN 0-7110-1469-8.
  8. ^ Dow, George (1965). Great Central, Volume Three: Fay Sets the Pace, 1900-1922. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 347. ISBN 0-7110-0263-0.
  9. ^ GB National Rail Timetable May 1984 Edition, Table 29
  10. ^ Friends of the Brigg & Lincoln LineCampaign for Better Transport; Retrieved 6 March 2015
  11. ^ Northern Rail Timetable 32: Sheffield - Retford - Lincoln/Cleethorpes; retrieved 7 March 2015
  12. ^ The usage information (Station Entries and Station Exits) is based on ticket sales in the financial year 2002/03 and covers all National Rail stations. The calculation of station usage levels uses sales recorded in the railway ticketing system prior to their allocation to individual operators. It does not take into account any changes of train during the course of a journey.Continued usage notes Archived 4 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine, and Excel format table for all stations Archived 13 February 2006 at the Wayback Machine available.
  13. ^ Brigg Line Freight Enhancements Arup press release; Retrieved 2 March 2015
  14. ^ "Friends of the Brigg and Lincoln Line". Brigg Market Town. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  15. ^ "Neglected stations beyond the fringe…". Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  16. ^ Stone, Mike (June 2019). "The 2019 summer timetable". Today's Railways. No. 210. Sheffield: Platform 5. p. 50. ISSN 1475-9713.
  17. ^ "A new hourly train service welcomed after 26 year break". West Lindsey District Council. 22 May 2019.
  18. ^ Pickering, Graeme (14 August 2019). "Improving rail links in Lincolnshire". RAIL. No. 885. H Bauer Publishing. pp. 42-47.
  19. ^ Norton, Emily (April 2018). "Regular train service to return to Gainsborough after 25 years". Lincolnshire Reporter. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Gainsborough Central station information". Northern Trains. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  21. ^ Table 30 National Rail timetable, May 2020
  22. ^ "Gainsborough Central welcomes new hourly train service". Community Rail. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  23. ^ "Timetable 32: Sheffield to Gainsborough and Lincoln" (PDF). Northern Trains, May 2021.

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