Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Following a meeting between franchise bidder Abellio and Harborough MP Neil O'Brien on 9th March, at which HRU was represented, Abellio offered a second meeting with the HRU Committee and this took place at the station on 25th April.
We discussed the station and HRU's aspirations for it including a lift between the booking office and the platforms; toilets and canopies on both platforms; facilities for cyclists; and the potential for greater use of the main building for community-related purposes. Abellio listened to these ideas positively and undertook to include as many of them in its proposals as it could.
On a related but different note, on the day before, 24th April, bidder First + Trenitalia pulled out of the East Midlands competition to concentrate on their bid for the West Coast Partnership franchise. That left three bidders, with Abellio and Arriva plus present operator, Stagecoach. We now await the Invitation to Tender, due to be issued by the DfT in May, to see what the specification for our train service will be.
Steve Jones, Chair of HRU, attended this ‘business breakfast’ event for user groups and other stakeholders at the Belmont Hotel in Leicester. EMT updated us on management changes; the May 2018 timetable; the Derby station remodelling scheme planned for this summer; the train fleet including modifications to the stock used on the rural routes plus maintenance of the HSTs; work at stations such as new ticket gates at Leicester; and EMT’s extensive community rail activities. One query that was raised was the relatively late start to the rail-replacement bus services this coming weekend, 28-29th April, when the line is closed for engineering work. EMT undertook to look into this.
We are grateful to EMT for their hospitality and their willingness to discuss the various developments across their network.
On Wednesday 11th April, three members of the HRU Committee met with Network Rail's Project Sponsor for the Market Harborough upgrade scheme at the station for an update on the project following the collapse earlier in the year of main contractor Carillion. In essence: