Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Harborough Rail Users held an open Committee meeting at The Oat Hill bar on Kettering Road on Tuesday evening, 24th September 2019.
Topics covered included the new Abellio EMR franchise; the rebuilding of Market Harborough station and related work on the line; future rolling-stock plans for both the main line and the Corby electric services; forthcoming weekend engineering work including the planned replacement bus services; and the HRU AGM in November, date to be arranged.
Though HRU has an elected Committee, our meetings are open to all with an interest in the station and train service at Market Harborough.
HRU Chair Steve Jones met EMR's Stakeholder Manager Laura Etheridge at the station on 12th September to discuss various topical matters. They were joined by Celia Davis of Network Rail. Among matters discussed were:
HS2 remains controversial but it is planned to construct an 'eastern leg' from an interchange station near Birmingham to Leeds via an East Midlands Hub station at Toton, half-way between Nottingham and Derby. None of these is anywhere near Market Harborough!
However, sub-national transport body Midlands Connect, which brings together local authority, business and transport interests across the Midlands, has published proposals to make more effective use of HS2 by means of direct links into the cities. This would mean, for example, trains running between the city centre stations in Nottingham and Birmingham via existing tracks as far as new junctions with HS2, which would then allow much faster journeys and encourage significant transfer from the roads for such journeys.
One such proposal is for an hourly service between Bedford and Leeds, using an upgraded and electrified Midland Main Line as far as the Toton Hub, then HS2 northwards. Market Harborough is mentioned as one of the stations that would be served, along with Wellingborough, Kettering, Leicester and Loughborough. Further information is available at https://www.railbusinessdaily.com/hs2-to-serve-nottingham-and-leicester-city-centres-under-plans-submitted-to-government-and-hs2-review-by-midlands-connect/?.
Such a service would greatly improve Market Harborough's connections to the north. As such, and leaving aside all the other arguments about HS2, it would be welcome. However, it must not be at the expense of our two-trains-per-hour service to London.