Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
The next Committee meeting of HRU has been arranged for Monday 29th April, starting at 18:00, in the front bar of the Oat Hill pub restaurant on Kettering Road, Little Bowden. On the agenda are the new East Midlands franchise announcement plus the rebuilding of Market Harborough station and the associated forthcoming line closure from 28th May to 2nd June. Anyone with an interest in the train service from Market Harborough is welcome to attend.
In an announcement that caught many by surprise, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced today that the next East Midlands franchise is to be awarded to Abellio, a subsidiary of Netherlands Railways. Trading as East Midlands Railway, the new franchise is due to start on 18th August 2019 and run for eight years, to 21st August 2027, with an option for a possible extension of a further two years. Various improvements and investments are promised, including a new fleet of trains for the main line, extra capacity in the morning peak on services into London, plus other innovations such as trials with trains powered by hydrogen fuel-cells. More day-to-day improvements include free wi-fi throughout the journey, something Harborough Rail Users have campaigned for, plus the increasingly standard compensation for delays of more than 15 minutes. We await the details of service changes and we hope to meet the new operator in the near future. We have had - and continue to have - a good working relationship with East Midlands Trains and we hope to have similarly constructive communication with Abellio once they have taken over.
Representatives from HRU and local cycling groups met East Midlands Trains at the station on Monday 1st April, to discuss cycling facilities at the rebuilt station. Cycle parking at the station has been of fairly low quality for a long time and EMT have been working on designs and funding sources for much improved provision, such as a cycle hub. EMT undertook to take account of the comments and suggestions made in drawing up the plans for enhancements, subject to a favourable funding decision. We anticipate that decisions will be made within the next few weeks.