Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
(Late posting) Meeting at Market Harborough station, 13th April 2015 with Steve Leyland, Route General Manager - South, East Midlands Trains
This was a meeting at the station between members of the Harborough Rail Users Committee and the East Midlands Trains route manager responsible for our section of the line. The purpose was to discuss the current state of play with the various improvement schemes planned for the station. It followed announcements about the intended improvements to the station associated with the potential electrification and proposed straightening of the line through Market Harborough.
The station is due to have a footbridge with stairs and lifts installed between the two platforms. The favoured location is roughly half-way along the platforms and will be designed to be compatible with any track-straightening scheme. It is hoped that it may be installed in the next couple of years with funding from the national Access for All programme. Design work is under way and does not depend on any other improvement works for the station or the line. It is a long overdue and essential improvement.
Track realignment scheme
This has been debated for decades! It is a major scheme and requires a package of funding from various sources including Network Rail and various Local Enterprise Partnership funds. Some of this funding has now been provisionally allocated but the overall funding package is not yet fully in place and decisions remain to be made. Though the main aim is to reduce journey times between London, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, Harborough Rail Users have long supported the scheme because of the opportunity it provides to give our station full-length, full-height, fully accessible platforms.
The ultimate plan would be to relocate the main road entrance to the other side of the railway bridge, with a proper junction on Rockingham Road near the entrance to Halfords. This road access would lead to a new modern main station building by platform 2 (southbound) and the main car park, which would also be relocated to the east side of the line. The present Victorian station building is of course protected but would no longer be in railway use. However, there would still be an entrance via the present access route and car park ramp, mainly for pedestrians and short-stay pick-up and drop-off parking. The station would therefore effectively have two entrances. Access from the west-side entrance to the new main building and the southbound platform would therefore be via the new footbridge.
The final decision on all of this is still awaited. If it does not go ahead, at the very least the southbound platform 2, will be extended at the north end so we will at least have platforms of sufficient length.
We discussed bicycle parking, which consists of quite a variety of racks with only very limited shelter from the weather. There is funding for improvements to cycle parking at stations including Market Harborough. East Midlands Trains are considering better cycle parking provision and a likely location is the remnant of the Northampton line platform between the present car park and northbound platform 1.
Following comments received, HRU have asked for a handrail to be provided by the steps up from Rockingham Road to the station forecourt near the railway bridge. Steve Leyland agreed to add this to the list of minor works needed at the station.
We also pointed out that the automatic doors between the booking office and the subway and ramp to the platforms can be a bit unyielding! Steve agreed to look into this and the setting of the sensors.
We are grateful to Steve Leyland for giving his time to come to Market Harborough to meet us and discuss the various projects openly with us.