Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Harborough Rail Users held their AGM last night, 23rd November. As well as electing the committee for the forthcoming year, the group adopted a revised constitution (See Library tab). This includes some updates and other provisions to reflect the working relationships and arrangements that have developed over the past few years, for example in HRU's dealings with the rail industry and with other transport pressure groups.
The AGM also reviewed the campaign topics for the next year. Not surprisingly, these include the station upgrade, with particular reference to accessibility for the disabled plus amenities at platform level. HRU will also be following developments with the next franchise, both in terms of the train service pattern and the quality of the next generation of rolling stock, especially now that electrification of the main line has been abandoned.
Harborough MP Neil O’Brien and HRU Chair Steve Jones met with Paul Maynard MP, the Under Secretary of State for Rail, Accessibility and HS2, on 14th November at the Houses of Parliament. The meeting had been requested by Neil O'Brien to press the case for proper disabled access to be provided at the rebuilt Market Harborough station plus toilets on the new southbound platform. The Department for Transport's Planning and Investment Manager for the Midland Main Line was also present.
Rather than go in with a long shopping list, running the risk of everything being lost in the detail, we focused on these two items. However, the meeting also considered various aspects of the scheme, including the need for sufficient shelter on the platforms, and was very constructive. Though he is the 'Rail Minister', Paul Maynard acknowledged that he has no powers to direct Network Rail as it is an arm's-length relationship. However, he did undertake to write to them at senior level, supporting the case for proper disabled access and for toilets on the southbound side. There is also the possibility that the specification for the next franchise may be a means of seeking additional enhancements to the station. Franchise bids are assessed much more on quality than used to be the case.
A further meeting with the Department for Transport and Network Rail at the station is to be arranged. We hope that these enhancements to what is otherwise a great improvement at the station can be included. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring the station fully up to modern standards; let's not waste it! Watch this space!
Harborough Rail Users are holding their Annual General Meeting on Thursday 23rd November 2017 at the Roman Way Community Centre, Market Harborough. The meeting starts at 8:00 pm.
As well as electing officers for the group for the forthcoming year, the meeting will consider relevant topics including: