Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
The first major step towards the rebuilding of Market Harborough station was achieved on Monday 18th June with the opening of the new car park. This is actually phase 1, with 300 spaces to replace the old car park on the west side of the line. The old car park has now closed, releasing its site for the work to start on the new track and platforms. Some preliminary track-work has been done just north of Station Road bridge and the whole scheme is due for completion in May 2019, when the present curved track alignment and platforms will close. Once that happens, the car park will be extended by a further 200 spaces (phase 2) on the land currently occupied by the track and platforms.
The new car park provides step-free access to the southbound platform. It is a long way round, however, and we continue to campaign for a lift to link the booking office with the new platforms.
It is intended that a coffee kiosk van will soon be provided at the new entrance between the new car park and the platform. Landscaping work is also planned around the entrance and approach road.
The Department for Transport has today published the Invitation to Tender for the next franchise for the services currently run by East Midlands Trains. There is a lot of information, which can be found on the DfT website:
A significant document is the Stakeholder Briefing Document. This summarises the responses to the public consultation:
Market Harborough is named as one of the top five stations in terms of responses! There is even a picture of the Old Grammar School on p76! However, it is the detail that matters...
HRU will be reviewing the documents in detail to see exactly what is proposed for our train service.
Stagecoach Rail requested a meeting with Harborough MP Neil O’Brien, and HRU Chair Steve Jones was invited to join them. Stagecoach operate the current East Midlands Trains franchise. However, as the bid teams are required to work entirely separately from the operational staff, we met in the coffee bar at Harborough District Council's Symington Building, on 1st June.
All of the bidders are meeting interested parties throughout the franchise area to gather information that will help them in preparing their bids. Though in no position to tell us their own plans or proposals, they are interested in local information and opinions about the rail service, both as it now is and the improvements we would like to see. We discussed our aspirations for the train service, new rolling stock, the station enhancements and the Midland Main Line upgrade.
This meeting means we have now met all three of the remaining potential bidders. The Invitation to Tender (ITT) is expected in early June from the Department for Transport and we now eagerly await what it says for our train service. We hope it contains good news!