East Midlands Ranger Area Station #73 – Lincoln

It has been a while since I visited any of the East Midlands Ranger Area stations, not since Shirebrook in November 2022. And so on a sunny spring day, March 23rd, I travelled to the cathedral city of Lincoln. It took two trains to get there in just under two hours, changing at Nottingham on the way. This was my third attempt at getting to Lincoln; the first was in 2017 when I was on holiday from work. Without going into too much detail, a bout of food poisoning on the morning that I was due to travel put the brakes on the trip. The second attempt was the previous week, when the snow prevented me from travelling.

I arrived at Lincoln railway station just before lunchtime.

Lincoln railway station was opened in October 1848 by the Great Northern Railway. It was known as Lincoln Central until as recently as 2019, to distinguish it from the other mainline station in the city, more of which to come later. The station is fully staffed, with waiting rooms and a ticket office. There are also ticket gates which have been recently installed, which are very few in number when a full trainload of passengers has to go through them. I had never had to queue to get out of a station before. The ornate Tudor revival-style buildings are Grade II listed. Although the station is conveniently located in the city centre, the railway line isn’t so convenient. There are two level crossings in quick succession to the west of the station which must be up and down like a yo-yo as trains pass through. Footbridges have been provided over both of them for people who don’t want to wait, or just don’t like level crossings (me, for instance).

High Street level crossing, with the High Street signal box to the right

The other station in Lincoln was Lincoln St Marks, which was the first to open in the city in 1846. It was built by the Midland Railway just south west of Lincoln Central, and was originally a terminus station until the railway line was linked to the Great Northern Railway’s line just a few years after opening. Under the nationalised British Rail, it was closed in 1985 because it was no longer necessary to operate two railway stations so close to each other. All St Marks’s services were re-routed to Lincoln Central when the station closed on 11th May 1985. The main station building survives as part of a shopping centre, also called St Marks.

The former Lincoln St Marks station entrance

After leaving the St Marks area, and chucking at a promotional poster for Lincoln where an 11-year old says how much he likes living in Lincoln because they “have a good football team”, I headed for the waterfront. Brayford Pool was once a thriving inland port, built by the Romans and connected to the River Trent by the Foss Dyke. The Foss Dyke is considered to be the one of the world’s oldest canals, possibly dating back to the year 120AD.

The Pool has been an integral part of the city’s urban regeneration since the 1990s, and is now a thriving leisure and entertainment area, with bars, hotels, restaurants and a cinema along the waterfront.

As nice as the modern waterfront was, I couldn’t go to Lincoln without visiting something more historical, so I headed north from the city centre towards the Cathedral and the Castle.

On the way, I stopped to admire the Guildhall and Stonebow, the meeting place of Lincoln City Council from mediaeval times until the present day.

Guildhall and Stonebow, Lincoln

Before I went to the castle and cathedral, I stopped off at The Collection for a look around. The Collection is a museum which has many interesting exhibits from over the years, including many artefacts found by archaeologists over the years. It is completely free to get in, and there are various different exhibitions from time to time, as well as the permanent collection.

The Collection

After leaving The Collection, I headed up Steep Hill, which is a steep hill. The hill dates from Roman times, and is full of tourist shops and places to eat, as well as some historic old buildings, such as the Jew’s House, built in the year 1170.

At the top of the hill is Bailgate, which leads on to both the cathedral and the castle. I opted to have a walk around the cathedral first. I walked through the impressive Exchequer Gate to see the full splendour of Lincoln Cathedral. A cathedral has existed on the site since the year 1092, and the current building was built between 1185 and 1311. At the time of its completion, it was said to be the tallest building in the world. For many hundreds of years, the cathedral held one of the copies of the Magna Carta, but this is now held at Lincoln Castle. The Bishop of Lincoln was one of the signatories of the historic document in the year 1215.

On the east side of the cathedral is the Priory Gate, an arch over the road built in 1816 from the materials of an old gatehouse located further up the road.

Priory Gate

I walked around the perimeter of the cathedral and back to Bailgate, in between the cathedral and my next destination, Lincoln Castle.

Lincoln Castle was constructed at the behest of William the Conqueror, who won the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and built many castles in the north of England in order to project his influence in the north of England, who resisted his ruling of the land. Lincoln Castle was built in 1068. The castle is surrounded by walls which can be walked on for a small fee. Next to the castle is a former Victorian prison, which is now a tourist attraction. To the west of the castle site is Lincoln Crown Court, still in use today to deal with miscreants in the city.

Lincoln Crown Court

After a short walk around the castle grounds (some of which was cordoned off for repairs), I headed back down Steep Hill to another museum and gallery, The Usher Gallery. Located just across the road from The Collection, the Usher contains the collection of James Ward Usher, a businessman and philanthropist from Lincoln. He began collecting watches, ceramics, silver and various other items. He died in 1921, and his will stated that his collection should be placed in a museum for the public to admire. The building was completed in 1927.

The Usher Gallery

After leaving the gallery, I headed back towards the station. While I was in the city centre, I spotted a sculpture spanning the River Witham called Empowerment. Unveiled on 2nd February 2002 (2/2/02), it is made of aluminium and steel, and depicts two figures reaching out to each other across the river.It w

Empowerment outside the Waterside Shopping Centre

It was a very enjoyable day out in Lincoln. I may come back one day; there is so much more to explore in the city. I would have visited the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, but like most of the museums in the places I visit, it was closed. Thanks very much for reading.


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