Railway users planning on heading through Nottingham Railway Station and on to Skegness this summer are being urged to familiarise themselves with revised timetables ahead of significant disruption to services in the coming month.
Saturday, July 20 will mark day one of a 37 day project that will see the complete renewal of the railway around Nottingham.
As part of this project, more than a mile of track will be relaid with a series of junctions, as well as the construction of a new platform and more than 140 new signals.
This will lead to significant disruption to services in and out of Nottingham.
Skegness to Nottingham rail journeys will be much less affected than elsewhere, with trains operating along the full length of the route until Sunday, July 28 inclusive and from August 10 to 23 inclusive.
The timetable on those days will also be almost unaffected, although it is advised to check East Midlands Trains’ website when planning your journey as there may be bus replacement services in and out of Nottingham before 8.00am and also in the evening on some dates.
Between July 29 and August 9 and on August 24 and 25 there will be no trains between Nottingham and Grantham. Bus replacement services will operate on that leg of the journey.
Rail journeys between Skegness and Grantham - and connections on the East Coast rail line - will operate completely as normal on all dates.
The disruption for passengers travelling through Nottingham and onto Skegness has sparked concerns among retailers on the East Lindsey coastline, who fear that it will deter passengers from travelling.
This appeared to be backed up by a recent survey by East Midlands Trains, which found that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed would be put off travelling to Skegness on the days where services would be disrupted.
However, rail companies are offering a 15 per cent ticket discount for passengers who need to use replacement buses on those days, in the hope of minimising the impact.
Network Rail says the work is vital to improve journey times in and out of Nottingha. The station’s antiquated signalling system and increased rail passenger numbers has caused repeated delays down the years.
Network Rail’s Route Managing Director, Phil Verster, said: “The vital work we are about to carry out at Nottingham will be the biggest change to the railway in the city since the 1960s and will allow operators to trains more reliably and more often than ever before.
“We will be installing the latest technology on the route, along with new track, improved junctions and a new platform too.
“This will leave the city’s railway in a much better position to serve the millions of people who use it every year.”
East Midlands Trains and Network Rail said they had invested around three years of “careful planning” to ensure that passengers can have the “best possible journey” during the improvement work.
They added that extensive measures had been put in place, including station enhancements at key stations, discounted travel and alternative travel arrangements with bus and rail operators.
David Horne, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “A huge amount of effort and more than three years worth of detailed planning has taken place by our teams to ensure our passengers get the best possible service during the works.
“Our 100+ strong team of volunteers are now getting ready to get out to stations and help our passengers with every step of their journey.
“We’ll be keeping passengers regularly informed on progress with the works and with any useful information they need for their journey with us. As well as weekly email updates, regular updates on our website, eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/nottingham, we’ll also have lots of information at stations and on our trains.
“In addition, a dedicated twitter feed will provide useful information and answer any questions on travel arrangements during the works using ‘Shirley’, who many people will recognise as the face of our communications campaign.”
To sign up to receive weekly email updates, visit eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/nottingham or to follow the dedicated twitter feed, follow @shirley_updates.
As well as extra parking at some of the affected stations, there will also be over 100 extra customer service volunteers helping out at key locations to provide extra assistance to passengers.
A comprehensive bus timetable will see buses leaving from Station Street to the west and Trent Street (for destinations in the east), with bus arrival drop offs in Canal Street and Queens Road close to the station.
There will be four buses every hour between Derby and Nottingham and two buses an hour between Grantham and Nottingham.
There will also be one bus an hour between Grantham and the East Midlands Parkway.
And on Saturdays when the timetable is affected there will be two additional direct bus services between Nottingham and Skegness.
Rail bosses say the number of buses will increase at peak periods.