Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
The Rail Minister, Andrew Jones MP, visited Market Harborough station on 27th June. He was on his way to Leicester to meet regional transport agency Midlands Connect to receive their Business Case for the ‘Midlands Rail Hub’ programme of rail investments. He took the opportunity to stop off at Market Harborough and view our station. Harborough MP Neil O'Brien was also there, plus representatives of Network Rail, East Midlands Trains and the Leicester & Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
HRU Chair Steve Jones was invited to meet the Minister, and we spoke about the major improvements already made but also the need for additional enhancements to accessibility, cycle parking, toilets and platform canopies. Electrification was also mentioned, along with the planned new rolling stock. The Minister is plainly enthusiastic about the investment going into the railway nationally and it was good to have the opportunity to meet him and discuss local rail issues with him. The picture shows the Minister being interviewed by local radio station HfM.
A full press release from the Department for Transport can be viewed at www.gov.uk/government/news/53-million-line-upgrade-to-help-make-midlands-railways-fit-for-the-future.
Abellio, who take over from East Midlands Trains on 18th August 2019, have released details of the new brand and livery for our rail service. It will be known as East Midlands Railway (EMR), with a deep purple livery and house-style. The new East Midlands Railway name has been designated as a long term and enduring brand for this and successive East Midlands railway franchises. In other words, it is intended to apply irrespective of any future operator, in much the same way as London buses are all red no matter which company is actually operating them.
According to Abellio:
The EMR brand has white lettering with a ‘lavender’ shadow as its primary logo colours. The colour scheme is contemporary but pays respect to the strong and proud railway heritage of the East Midlands. Each train carriage will have distinct markings to reflect three distinct market segments:
East Midlands Trains (EMT) continue to operate our trains until 17th August and the EMT name and brand remain unchanged until then.
Though the new platforms have been open since 3rd June 2019, southbound platform 2 is not yet complete. Work continues on the southern end of the platform, to make it full-length and link to the steps down to the subway and booking office. The picture shows progress with this on 24th June. The temporary speed restriction for trains not stopping has now been lifted, allowing southbound trains to pass at 85mph. Northbound, however, the 50mph temporary speed restriction remains in place for now.
Market Harborough station reopened today, 3rd June 2019, after a six-day closure, during which the new track alignment was completed. Though there were no official ceremonies, there was much local interest, plus pride on the part of Network Rail, their contractors and East Midlands Trains that the project had been completed on time and to a very high standard. The long-awaited footbridge with lifts is now in use. Though platform 1, northbound, is complete, some work remains on platform 2 (southbound) to bring its full length into use. Until then, platform 2 is only five carriages long. Work will continue on this, and the extension of the car park to give an extra 200 spaces. Though there are additional features that HRU would wish to see provided, there is no doubt that the new station is a massive improvement on the previous one.
The driver stands next to locomotive 43081 at the head of the 06:54 from Market Harborough to St Pancras on reopening day. Network Rail and contractors' staff gather on Platform 1, opposite, to greet the first northbound train, the 06:58 to Sheffield.