Gainsborough Central railway station

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Gainsborough Central
National Rail
E03 Central Railway Station - view looking north from the fo.JPG
The station in 2009
LocationGainsborough, West Lindsey
United Kingdom
Coordinates53°23′56″N 0°46′11″W / 53.3990°N 0.7696°W / 53.3990; -0.7696Coordinates: 53°23′56″N 0°46′11″W / 53.3990°N 0.7696°W / 53.3990; -0.7696
Grid referenceSK819898
Managed byNorthern Trains
Other information
Station codeGNB
ClassificationDfT category F1
Original companyManchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Central Railway
Post-groupingLondon and North Eastern Railway
2 April 1849 (1849-04-02)Opened as Gainsborough
September 1923Renamed Gainsborough Central
2014/15Increase 1,552[1]
 Interchange Steady 3
2015/16Decrease 1,352[1]
 Interchange Increase 29
2016/17Decrease 996 [1]
 Interchange Increase 204
2017/18Decrease 970 [1]
 Interchange Increase 241
2018/19Increase 1,494 [1]
 Interchange Increase 268

Gainsborough Central railway station is a railway station 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.[2][3]

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.[4][5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

The MS&LR became the Great Central Railway (GCR) on 1 August 1897,[8] which in turn amalgamated with other railways to form the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at the end of 1922.[9] The LNER inherited two stations in Gainsborough, and to distinguish them, the ex-GCR station was renamed Gainsborough Central in September 1923.[4] The station buildings were demolished in 1975, leaving just the two platforms and a footbridge over the two railway lines.[6]

Weekday passenger services (which had been thrice-daily each way between Sheffield and Cleethorpes since the early 1980s)[10] were withdrawn by British Rail in October 1993 leaving only three trains in each direction running on Saturdays.[11][12] 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.[13] 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.[14] This was done to reduce congestion on the busy route via Scunthorpe.

Meanwhile, North Lincolnshire Council 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.

In late 2008, a new car park was opened next to the station, however this is only for permit holders. Good access is available even for the disabled.


As of May 2019, Gainsborough Central is served by an hourly Monday-Saturday service to Sheffield via Retford and Worksop. On Saturdays, there are also 3 trains that continue to Cleethorpes.

The station is not served by trains during the evenings (after approx 19:15) or on Sundays. However, passengers can use the nearby Gainsborough Lea Road Station which continues to operate at these times.

Due to the ongoing 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, the hourly service was suspended and currently only the Saturday services to Cleethorpes stop at Gainsborough Central.

One of the station name signs in 2019
The platforms
Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Northern Trains
Sheffield-Cleethorpes Saturday Only
Northern TrainsTerminus
  Historical railways  
Line open, station closed
  Great Central Railway
Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway
Line open, station closed


  1. ^ a b c d e Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at this station from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
  2. ^ "Train times, Sheffield to Gainsborough to Lincoln/Cleethorpes" (PDF). Northern. Northern. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Gainsborough's new weekday rail service is moving forward after delays". Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 100. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  5. ^ Historic England. "Gainsborough Central (499039)". PastScape. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b Beckwith, Ian S (1988). The Book of Gainsborough. Quotes Ltd.
  7. ^ 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]
  8. ^ Dow, George (1962). Great Central, Volume Two: Dominion of Watkin, 1864-1899. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 297. ISBN 0-7110-1469-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  9. ^ Dow, George (1965). Great Central, Volume Three: Fay Sets the Pace, 1900-1922. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 347. ISBN 0-7110-0263-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  10. ^ GB National Rail Timetable May 1984 Edition, Table 29
  11. ^ Friends of the Brigg & Lincoln LineCampaign for Better Transport; Retrieved 6 March 2015
  12. ^ Northern Rail Timetable 32: Sheffield - Retford - Lincoln/Cleethorpes; retrieved 7 March 2015
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Brigg Line Freight Enhancements Arup press release; Retrieved 2 March 2015
  15. ^ Fisher, Nigel (4 June 2007). "Passengers Urged To Show Support". Scunthorpe Telegraph. p. 14. Retrieved 5 June 2007.[permanent dead link]
  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.

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