Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
The government’s Office of Rail and Road (ORR) publishes annual data on rail passenger numbers. Albeit some time after the end of the reporting year, the ORR has recently published figures for 2018-19. Market Harborough saw modest further growth, of 1.5% to a total of 907,770 rail journeys beginning or ending at the station during the year to March 2019. This is, of course, before the various closures for the station rebuild in May-June 2019 and other engineering work. It will be interesting to see how the station performed over that period and since.
The usage data for all stations and franchised train operators can be found on the ORR website at: https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/station-usage.
Awaiting the crowds? The as-yet unopened part of
Platform 2 at Market Harborough watches a Meridian
train depart for St Pancras on the evening of 12th September 2019.
The next open Committee meeting of HRU has been arranged for Monday 20th January, starting at 18:00, in the front bar of The Oat Hill pub restaurant on Kettering Road, Little Bowden. The main item on the agenda is the East Midlands Railway timetable consultation for December 2020. This is when the EMR Electrics service to Corby is due to start. The Intercity service - which serves Market Harborough - is also due to see significant alterations. Anyone with an interest in the train service from Market Harborough is welcome to attend.
Details of the consultation, and the opportunity to submit individual responses, can be found at https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/december2020. The consultation closes on 14th February 2020.
No, not a member of the peerage; rather, the LMS Princess Coronation class locomotive of that name, no. 6233, built in 1938. She is now preserved in main-line operating condition and is a regular performer on railtours, such as between Ealing and York via Kettering and the famous Harringworth viaduct. However, on Saturday 21st December 2019, she became the first steam locomotive to travel through the realigned track and platforms at Market Harborough, passing through on time at 12:39. She was on her way from her base at Southall, West London, to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley, Derbyshire, hauling only her two support coaches. Nonetheless, she made a fine sight as she passed through at speed, exchanging greetings with the HST - another main-line classic - that was forming the slightly delayed 12:26 to St Pancras on the opposite platform. (Photo: Bill Jones)
The new timetable came into operation on Sunday 15th December. There is hardly any change for our train service at Market Harborough. (Unlike some areas, such as Great Western, which sees major overhauls following further electrification work, for example.)
For us, there is only one significant alteration; the 18:34 from St Pancras on weekdays gains a Market Harborough stop (at 19:40). This plugs a previous 42-minute gap in the evening peak timetable; something we in Harborough Rail Users have wanted resolved for some time. As this train also calls at Kettering, this also addresses the very long previous gap in the evening peak service from there to Market Harborough. We lose our stop on the 19:01 from St Pancras, but the next following train for Market Harborough is at 19:04, three minutes later! Other than that, apart from minor re-timings by the odd minute here or there, there are no changes.
On a bright Sunday 15th December 2019, Meridian unit 222004 undertakes Market Harborough's first northbound departure in the new timetable with the 10:26 to Nottingham.
The extended car park at Market Harborough station opened today, 15th December 2019, the same day as the new timetable came into operation. The car park extension adds 200 spaces to the 300 already in place, which were regularly full by early morning. It will be interesting to see how quickly the 500 spaces fill up!
See also https://www.railbusinessdaily.com/new-bigger-car-park-opens-at-market-harborough-station/
Unfortunately, the full length of (southbound) platform 2 is not yet in use, as work continues around the subway and steps. We are hoping that will be completed soon.