Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Network Rail held its third public information event today, 27th June 2017, on the plans for the realignment of the line through Market Harborough. This took place at the station so as to catch the eye of users of the station; previous such events have been at the town's market hall. The latest outline plans were on display and staff from Network Rail and East Midlands Trains were available to answer questions and receive comments. A planning application for the scheme has been submitted to Harborough District Council. The new car park, on the east side of the line, has already been approved and work is due to begin in July on this as the first phase. The old goods shed (in the background to the right of the engine in the photo above!) will be demolished and the first 300 of an eventual 500 parking spaces provided. Once that is done, the existing car park on the west side of the line will close, releasing the land for the construction of the new straight track alignment and platforms while the existing railway and platforms continue to operate alongside. This will include the new Access for All footbridge and lifts. Once complete, in summer 2019, there will be a short closure of the line to connect it all up. After that, the car park will be extended over the land occupied by the present track and platforms to give the additional 200 spaces.
Harborough Rail Users broadly welcomes the plan as it will give the station its much-needed new platforms, larger car park and improved accessibility. However, we remain concerned about the limited shelter on the platforms (though this is better than previously proposed) and the lack of full accessibility from the booking office in the main building to the platforms. We await specific final designs of other aspects such as the promised 'cycle hub' in the station forecourt and we have called for other modest enhancements including a coffee kiosk and better shelter at the entrance to the platforms from the new car park.
Network Rail has applied to Harborough District Council for planning permission for the scheme (except for the car park, which was approved in May). Details can be seen at https://pa2.harborough.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=ORFYZ3HW0HU00