Gainsborough Central railway station

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Gainsborough Central National Rail
E03 Central Railway Station - view looking north from the fo.JPG
Gainsborough Central Station
Place Gainsborough
Local authority West Lindsey
Coordinates 53°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 reference SK819898
Station code GNB
Managed by Northern
Number of platforms 2
DfT category F1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2011/12 Increase 1,334
2012/13 Decrease 1,128
2013/14 Increase 1,220
2014/15 Increase 1,552
2015/16 Decrease 1,352
Key dates Opened 1849 (1849)
Original company Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway
Pre-grouping Great Central Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
2 April 1849 (1849-04-02) Opened as Gainsborough
September 1923 Renamed Gainsborough Central
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Gainsborough Central from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Gainsborough Central railway station is a railway station in the town of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England. The town's other station is the busier Gainsborough Lea Road. Until as recently as 2006, the station was shown to be one of the least busy in the country as trains only call there one day a week.

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 the United Kingdom, with Barry Links.[1] The 2004/05 figures suggested 21 passengers used the station that year, putting it slightly below Watford West, a station closed since 1996 and on a line which is currently missing both track and bridges.

The station was opened by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR) on 2 April 1849.[2][3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

The MS&LR became the Great Central Railway (GCR) on 1 August 1897,[6] which in turn amalgamated with other railways to form the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at the end of 1922.[7] The LNER inherited two stations in Gainsborough, and to distinguish them, the ex-GCR station was renamed Gainsborough Central in September 1923.[2] The station buildings were demolished in 1975, leaving just the two platforms and a footbridge over the two railway lines.[4]

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.[8] This has been done to reduce congestion on the busy route via Scunthorpe.


Gainsborough Central station was 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.


The present service comprises just three trains per week[9] each way on Saturdays only between Sheffield and Cleethorpes. British Rail withdrew the weekday service (also thrice-daily each way since the early 1980s)[10] at the end of the 1993 summer timetable.[11]

North Lincolnshire Council is, however, campaigning to increase this to an hourly service in each direction.[12]

The Department for Transport have confirmed that the service on the Sheffield Midland - Cleethorpes via Gainsborough Central will be reviewed as part of the Northern Rail franchise.

In June 2013 in a letter to RAIL magazines Open Access, Gainsborough Central was described as "Something you would find in war-torn Beirut".[13]

In the Times newspaper on 8 January 2014 the station was said to be "the worst on the British rail network".[citation needed]

A campaign by both rail groups in Gainsborough has resulted in a three-fold increase in passenger numbers using the station and the Brigg line railway services.[citation needed]

The station's sign
Gainsborough Central 2.jpg
Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Saturday only
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
  Great Central Railway
Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway
Line open, station closed


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 100. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  3. ^ Historic England. "Gainsborough Central (499039)". PastScape. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Beckwith, Ian S (1988). The Book of Gainsborough. Quotes Ltd. 
  5. ^ Historic England. "Erroneous listing as though the station was still standing  (Grade II) (1168462)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Dow, George (1962). Great Central, Volume Two: Dominion of Watkin, 1864-1899. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 297. ISBN 0-7110-1469-8. 
  7. ^ Dow, George (1965). Great Central, Volume Three: Fay Sets the Pace, 1900-1922. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 347. ISBN 0-7110-0263-0. 
  8. ^ Brigg Line Freight Enhancements Arup press release; Retrieved 2 March 2015
  9. ^ Northern Rail Timetable 32: Sheffield - Retford - Lincoln/Cleethorpes; retrieved 7 March 2015
  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. ^ Fisher, Nigel (4 June 2007). "Passengers Urged To Show Support". Scunthorpe Telegraph. p. 14. Retrieved 5 June 2007. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Brigg Line Action PlanFriends of the Brigg & Lincoln Lines and Gainsborough Rail & Bus Users Group; Retrieved 7 March 2015

External links[edit]