Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
HRU contributes to Leicestershire County Council’s Scrutiny Review Panel on Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement project
Leicestershire County Council have convened a Scrutiny Review Panel to consider the Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement project. This is a cross-party group of five County Councillors and within their remit is ‘to gain a better understanding of the project and planned improvements to the track and station’ and ‘to explore and understand…what the benefits and associated constraints are’. The Panel met at County Hall on 18th March to hear presentations from Network Rail and East Midlands Trains. This was followed by a site visit to Market Harborough station. After that, the Panel reconvened at the Harborough District Council offices with local stakeholders including Harborough Rail Users invited to make representations. Steve Jones, Chair of HRU, gave a 15-minute presentation based on HRU's response to Network Rail's consultation, though placing this in the context of the importance of the rail service to the local economy and quality of life. He emphasised the role of the local authorities and the Enterprise Partnership (who also gave a presentation) in supporting and facilitating the scheme including the associated highway implications and other access requirements. As the scheme is not yet fully funded, we all need to work together to ensure that the rebuilt station is of a high standard both in its construction and in the facilities it offers.
The Scrutiny Review Panel also heard from LANRAC (the Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Rail Action Committee), Harborough District Council and from
The first tangible phase of the rebuilding of Market Harborough station has moved a step closer with Network Rail submitting a planning application to Harborough District Council for the new station car park. Notices about this were posted at the station on 2nd March and details can be viewed on HDC's planning website under reference 17/00261/FUL. The plan is for one surface car park with 500 spaces, including 26 disabled spaces, on the east side of the line on the site of the old goods yard. Some site clearance work has already taken place and the engineers' sidings will be relocated to Knighton Junction, near Leicester. There will be pedestrian access from the car park direct to the new southbound platform, near the proposed footbridge to the northbound platform. Vehicle access will be via the existing goods yard access road, suitably upgraded, with a junction onto Rockingham Road just east of the railway bridge. The plan includes demolition of the old goods shed, which can be seen in the background behind the station sign in the photograph above. Though not of any great architectural merit, it is perhaps a pity the old building could not be retained. However, the plan is major improvement on the existing arrangements and it is an essential first step towards the long-awaited track realignment and station upgrade. Harborough Rail Users have therefore written to Harborough District Council in support of the application.
The Department for Transport has today issued the shortlist of bidders for the next East Midlands rail franchise, which it describes as a 'key' part of the Midlands 'engine for growth'. The shortlisted companies are:
In making the announcement, Rail Minister Paul Maynard referred to the contribution a flourishing rail network makes to the region it serves and therefore the government's investment in rail. He said: "Network Rail is working on improvements which by 2019 will enable the next East Midlands franchise to deliver more carriages and faster journeys over the whole route, including almost twice as many seats into London St Pancras in the peak hours."
The full DfT press release can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/east-midlands-rail-franchise-3-firms-make-the-shortlist.
Harborough Rail Users await the public consultation on the next franchise; this consultation has been delayed from its intended start in December 2016. We will then submit our aspirations for the train service from Market Harborough