Gainsborough Central railway station

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Gainsborough Central
National Rail
Gainsborough Central.jpg
The station in 2023.
General information
LocationGainsborough, West Lindsey
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
Opened2 April 1849
Original companyManchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Central Railway
Post-groupingLondon and North Eastern Railway
Key dates
2 April 1849 (1849-04-02)Opened as Gainsborough
September 1923Renamed Gainsborough Central
2017/18Decrease 970
 Interchange Increase 241
2018/19Increase 1,494
 Interchange Increase 268
2019/20Increase 2,384
 Interchange Increase 1,551
2020/21Decrease 616
 Interchange Decrease 435
2021/22Increase 1,830
 Interchange Increase 1,193
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

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 four 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 five fare-paying passengers (excluding season ticket holders) boarded trains at Gainsborough Central station, and three 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 which closed in 1996.

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 a skeleton service resuming in May 2022.


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 has 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]


All services at Gainsborough Central are operated by Northern Trains.

As of December 2022, the station is served by four trains per day on weekdays and Saturdays to Sheffield via Worksop which start and terminate at Gainsborough Central.[21] On Saturdays, the station is served by three additional trains per day between Sheffield and Cleethorpes via Brigg.

There is no Sunday service.

The nearby Gainsborough Lea Road is served regularly throughout the day, in the evenings and on Sundays.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Northern Trains
Monday-Saturday only
Saturday only
  Historical railways  
Line open, station closed
Great Central Railway
Line open, station closed


One of the station name signs in 2019
The platforms


  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". 18 April 2019. 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, December 2022

External links[edit]