Rail passengers in Hykeham and Lincoln can look forward to extra services and quicker journeys from Monday 18th May with the launch of the new Castle Line timetable.

As announced by East Midlands Trains in September 2014, services between Nottingham, Newark Castle and Lincoln Central have been significantly improved following more than £2 million of local and government funding.

Passengers using Hykeham will benefit from:

•        Most frequent ever service
•        Extra 14 trains per weekday, an increase of 50%
•        Extra morning peak service to Nottingham
•        Extra evening service from Nottingham
•        Faster journey times for the majority of services to and from Nottingham

Passengers using Lincoln Central will enjoy quicker journeys and more services, including:

•        Extra weekday morning service to Nottingham
•        Additional evening train from Nottingham
•        Faster journey times for the majority of services to and from Nottingham

The increase in services is a further boost to the economy and communities of the region and is perfectly timed to support the nation’s celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the reopening of Lincoln Castle following a £22 million investment and the opening of Newark’s National Civil War Centre.

The timetable improvements by East Midlands Trains have been developed and funded in partnership with the Department for Transport, Nottinghamshire County Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Nottingham City Council, City of Lincoln Council, Newark & Sherwood District Council, Newark Business Club, North Kesteven District Council, Gedling Borough Council as well as the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (covering Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) and the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “As part of our long-term economic plan, we are investing record amounts to improve the UK’s rail network. These new, faster services will make a real difference to passengers across the East Midlands, by giving local communities better connections and helping to secure economic growth. This is great news for the region.”

Simon Taylor, Head of Network Development for East Midlands Trains, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are introducing our new and much improved services for the communities and businesses along the Castle Line.

“The new services are a particular boost to the smaller, intermediate stations along the route as many of them will now have more services than they have ever had in more than a century. This is a real boost for the region and we are over the moon to have worked closely with so many partners and supporters to make this happen.

“However, we are far from complacent and know there is still more we can do to improve services for the Castle Line and we will continue to work hard, with our partners, to make further improvements.”  

Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Councillor for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "Better transport links for the people of Lincolnshire to other parts of the country are at the top of our agenda here at Lincolnshire County Council so we are pleased to have been able to join forces with East Midlands Trains to bring about this latest increase in services.

"With the new-and-improved Lincoln Castle attracting thousands of visitors and Magna Carta celebrations just around the corner, the launch of the Lincoln Castle Explorer Service couldn't have come at a better time. Hopefully it will inspire people to come and explore all that Lincoln has to offer in this landmark year and beyond."

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “These faster journey times and extra services are fantastic news for the city, especially in a year when we are expecting even more visitors than usual thanks to the recent reopening of Lincoln Castle and events such as the British Cycling National Championships.

“Tourism and the visitor economy is vital to support our local businesses and help to grow the local economy – one of the council’s main priorities – so we were delighted to support these improvements to the Castle Line and will continue to do what we can to ensure excellent transport links for Lincoln.”

David Dexter, Deputy Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said: “Enhancing rail services in and out of Lincolnshire is an important part of our overall strategy to improve our infrastructure.

“This new service is good news for Lincolnshire as it will mean journeys to and from Nottingham and beyond are more frequent, and it’s a first step to securing more direct trains to London. 

“Hykeham, which is a key employment site for Greater Lincolnshire, will benefit substantially and there will be fantastic opportunities to grow businesses here and make the service sustainable going forward.”

Steve Hughes, area director for Network Rail, added: “These additional services are great news for passengers and we are delighted that the first trains will be running any day now.

“Earlier this year Network Rail completed the new car park at Collingham station and by the end of this year we will have renewed the signalling systems between Nottingham and Newark, making rail travel easier and more reliable for passengers.

“Longer term, we are working with partners to try and reduce journey times between Nottingham and Lincoln and will continue to work with East Midlands Trains to provide the best possible train service for passengers on the Castle Line.”

The new timetable is available on www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk