Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Network Rail have released a time-lapse video of the 2019 line upgrade work at Market Harborough, showing the main stages of the project from installation of the footbridge back in February 2019 to the first train on 3rd June. It can be seen at https://vimeo.com/insideoutgrp/mmluprademarketharboroughjune2019.
The temporary speed restrictions through the station have now been removed, allowing trains not stopping to pass through at speed.
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.
The long-awaited blockade of the line through Market Harborough started this morning, 28th May. The line is now closed until Monday 3rd June, when the new platforms are due to open. Day 1 of the blockade has seen the old track through the station lifted and the old platforms largely demolished, with the sleepers for the new down line (northbound) now laid along the new alignment to where it joins the existing line. It is a scene of busy activity, as the picture above shows (old track on the left, new track on the right). The rail replacement bus service, every 15 minutes to both Kettering and Leicester, has operated smoothly. The station car park is free of charge for the duration of the blockade, and passengers are also offered free hot drinks and buns from the Engine Room cafe van in the car park.
A good start to this complex and important project!
The Department for Transport has announced that the Midland Main Line is to be electrified to Market Harborough. This is an extension of the scheme currently under way to electrify from Bedford to Kettering and Corby. The decision had been anticipated, as the power supply for that electrification will be from the National Grid high-voltage power line that crosses the railway near Braybrooke, just south of Market Harborough. It makes sense to feed that power back to Kettering using overhead wires rather than an underground conduit, and then to extend it for 'the last mile' into Market Harborough. The decision means that our trains will run electrically all the way between Market Harborough and London. This will make them quieter, cleaner and faster. Until electrification is extended further, however, they will switch to diesel for the section north to Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield.
The Market Harborough electrification is due to be completed in December 2023.
The decision is warmly welcome, but we need to ensure that Market Harborough retains an inter-city service rather than becoming the terminus for outer-suburban trains.