Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Harborough Rail Users have formally responded to Network Rail's consultation on its draft Delivery Plan for 'Control Period 5' (CP5), which runs from April 2014 to March 2019. The plan sets out NR's planned investments in the rail network over that period. We welcome the proposed investments on our line, including electrification, the 'electric spine' freight route from Southampton to the Midlands (which includes the section through Market Harborough), and the intention to provide capacity for longer passenger trains.
However, the long-outstanding scheme to straighten the line through Market Harborough and rebuild the station at platform level is not included in the draft Plan. The current layout is far from satisfactory as our platforms are too short, too low and do not meet modern accessibility standards. The present curvature of the line through Market Harborough imposes a significant speed restriction on through trains and the lack of a freight loop in the area limits capacity for both freight and passenger trains. The Midland Main Line route is being steadily being upgraded elsewhere, with modernised stations at various locations and the trains now able to travel at up to 125 mph on some sections. Market Harborough station, though well maintained by the train operator, cries out to be brought up to fully modern standards. It is important to deal with all of this and it needs to be done before the line is electrified, so as to avoid further cost and disruption later. Otherwise the opportunity could well be lost for another 30 years!
We have therefore called for the track realignment through Market Harborough to be included in the final Network Rail CP5 Delivery Plan and we have called upon the local authorities to support the scheme.