Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Picture: East Midlands Railway
Regular readers will recall that EMR have ordered a completely new fleet of 33 five-car Class 810 Hitachi bi-mode electric + diesel trains for the InterCity services between St Pancras and Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield, including our services here at Market Harborough.
(See https://www.harborough-rail.org.uk/home/category/rolling-stock/2 and scroll down to 30/7/2019).
Rather imaginatively, EMR then announced a public competition to come up with a class-name for these trains, like the new ‘Azuma’ trains on the LNER services out of King’s Cross.
More than 2,000 entries were submitted, and result of the competition was announced on 26th October 2020, Aurora. To quote EMR: ‘Aurora is the name of the Roman goddess of the dawn, representing the new start Aurora provides for the railway serving the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. It is also inspired by the Northern Lights, created by the transfer of the sun’s solar energy – matching Aurora’s ability to run under electric power.’
Construction is due to start later this year, with the first trains starting mainline testing in mid-2022, before entering passenger service in early 2023. Here’s hoping they will provide a new dawn, especially as the railway and the nation recover after the Covid-19 crisis - and that solar-powered electricity will be available for them at least as far as Market Harborough!
More can be found at: https://www.railbusinessdaily.com/a-new-dawn-east-midlands-railway-new-intercity-fleet-to-be-named-aurora/
Before the old platforms at Market Harborough were demolished, two old British Railways platform trolleys served as bases for decorative planting by Market Harborough in Bloom (MHiB, who are the approved 'adopters' of Market Harborough station). They made an attractive display but disappeared prior to the rebuilding of the station. However, they were not taken away, but were dumped in the long grass by the access road to the old car park. There they quietly deteriorated.
However, Network Rail kindly agreed that local volunteers from HRU and MHiB could remove them for repair, with a view to reinstatement somewhere on the rebuilt station as a base for a new planting scheme. The current plan is to place them, once fully restored, on the gravelled area near the steps from the new car park to the southbound platform. Complete with a floral display, they would add a splash of colour to welcome passengers arriving at the station.
The pictures below show the trolleys on 23rd October 2020, just prior to being removed for repair.
Harborough Rail Users are holding their 2020 Annual General Meeting on Friday 27th November 2020, starting at 1:00pm. Because of the Covid-19 crisis, the meeting this year will be held online on Zoom.
As well as electing officers for the group for the forthcoming year, the meeting will consider relevant topics including reviewing the past year, which has of course been dominated by the implications of Covid-19 for the railway and its users. Campaign priorities for the forthcoming year will also be considered. Foremost among these is the future of the rail service post-Covid, including planned investment in the line, station and rolling stock. The structure of the rail industry is also relevant to our services at Market Harborough.
Anyone who cares about Market Harborough's station and rail service and would like to attend the virtual AGM is invited to contact Harborough Rail Users via our Get in Touch facility.
Every year, excellence and achievements in the rail industry are celebrated in the National Rail Awards, the ‘Railway Oscars’. There are numerous categories reflecting achievements in railway operations, customer service, business innovation and many others. One of these is Infrastructure Achievement of the Year and the 2020 winner was contractor Amey Rail for the Market Harborough Line Speed and Station Improvement project. This is a major accolade and we congratulate the teams involved in transforming our station at track and platform level plus the new car park.
EMR and Network Rail have notified stakeholders including Harborough Rail Users that the major timetable change planned for December 2020, when the Corby electrification was due to open, has been deferred until May 2021. This comes as no surprise; it is a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected:
EMR also advise that there are 'challenges for the successful introduction of an improved EMR Regional timetable in December 2021. Work is ongoing to understand the knock-on implications for these long anticipated changes'.
There was a major consultation earlier in 2020 on the December 2020 timetable plans and HRU submitted a detailed response. See https://www.harborough-rail.org.uk/home/harborough-rail-users-respond-to-december-2020-timetable-consultation for more.
Send me a wire. Construction teams work on the platform extensions at Wellingborough on 11th March 2020 under the new overhead electrification, in preparation for electric services between London and Corby. These were due to start in December 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic has pushed this back to May 2021, with implications for the timetable changes planned for the whole Midland Main Line. (Picture: Steve Jones)