Easy solution to station problems
Councillors Saddington and Jackson may consider that being critical of Network Rail is a good way of making the front page of the Advertiser, but is it really too much to expect our politicians to make some practical suggestions to solve problems they identify, especially when there is an easy option to reduce the delays — staff the station properly.
Over the last decade the number of people using Newark Castle station has virtually tripled and in 2018-19 handled 862,868 passengers.
Over that period, the facilities there have nowhere near increased to the level needed to adequately deal with that level of growth, although the opening of Carriages restaurant and a ticket office are welcome.
Providing a member of platform staff at key times, say from 7am to 8pm each weekday,to welcome passengers, offer assistance and advice, examine tickets and to keep the station clean would provide a far more welcoming environment.
With any equipment there is always the possibility of failure and that is clearly the case with the barriers at Newark Castle, so train the platform staff to take over manual control of the crossing gates when they fail and, as they would already be on site, that would massively reduce delay to both motorists and trains.
It would clearly be necessary to provide accommodation for the additional staff but there is also an urgent need to provide improved facilities for passengers on the Lincoln bound platform and these could be combined.
The Lincoln bound platform should also be lengthened so that longer trains do not obstruct the level crossing when they stop at Newark.
It is reasonable to expect Network Rail and East Midlands Railway to fund most of the cost of the extra staff at Newark Castle station but surely the county and district councils should also contribute as well to a solution that would provide much greater long-term benefits, both to the local economy and the well-being of people in Newark, than Brompton bikes. — BOB POYNTER, Collingham (Full address supplied).