Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
The 2020 Harborough Rail Users AGM took place on 28th November. It was held online on Zoom because of the Covid pandemic.
It has been a most unusual year because of the pandemic, which has been very challenging for the railway. EMR and Network Rail have worked hard to maintain as good a service as they have; significant cutbacks in late March being restored to give almost a full service for Market Harborough by September. Nonetheless, HRU activity has continued, with meetings early in the year associated with further work on the station, and much email correspondence and telephone discussions on a number of topics since, and communication with EMR and Network Rail has remained good. We have also had contact with local councillors and the MP regarding the station, and fares policy.
The past year has seen the opening of the car park extension and the cycle hub, the closure of the coffee shop, and liaison with Market Harborough in Bloom regarding their role as station adopters. However, we still await new toilets and platform canopies as well as a decision on electrification. Interim arrangements with rolling stock are clearer, as we await the new bi-mode ‘Aurora’ trains in 2023.
The AGM saw the existing Committee and officers re-elected. The following campaign topics for HRU for the year ahead were agreed:
A design classic on borrowed time. An HST, in the old East Midlands Trains livery but still looking very smart, departs Market Harborough with the 10:31 to Nottingham on 26th November 2020.
Picture: Steve Jones
Harborough Rail Users are holding their 2020 Annual General Meeting on Friday 27th November 2020, starting at 1:00pm. Because of the Covid-19 crisis, the meeting this year will be held online on Zoom.
As well as electing officers for the group for the forthcoming year, the meeting will consider relevant topics including reviewing the past year, which has of course been dominated by the implications of Covid-19 for the railway and its users. Campaign priorities for the forthcoming year will also be considered. Foremost among these is the future of the rail service post-Covid, including planned investment in the line, station and rolling stock. The structure of the rail industry is also relevant to our services at Market Harborough.
Anyone who cares about Market Harborough's station and rail service and would like to attend the virtual AGM is invited to contact Harborough Rail Users via our Get in Touch facility.
The next open Committee meeting of HRU has been arranged for Monday 20th January, starting at 18:00, in the front bar of The Oat Hill pub restaurant on Kettering Road, Little Bowden. The main item on the agenda is the East Midlands Railway timetable consultation for December 2020. This is when the EMR Electrics service to Corby is due to start. The Intercity service - which serves Market Harborough - is also due to see significant alterations. Anyone with an interest in the train service from Market Harborough is welcome to attend.
Details of the consultation, and the opportunity to submit individual responses, can be found at https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/december2020. The consultation closes on 14th February 2020.
At the 2019 AGM on 11th November, Harborough Rail Users reviewed the past year’s activities and set the scene for campaign topics for the next year.
A busy year
The past year has particularly busy, dominated by the major reconstruction of the station and the franchise changeover from Stagecoach East Midlands Trains (EMT) to Abellio East Midlands Railway (EMR). Debate has continued about electrification, though we now have greater clarity about future rolling stock for the line. HRU has also dealt both with day-to-day matters concerning the train service, and much longer-term matters such as the recent proposal to reopen the line to Northampton.
Again, HRU has played a full part in consultations and has maintained contact with relevant organisations including the rail industry, local authorities, local elected representatives, and transport user representative groups. The willingness of EMT, EMR, Network Rail and others to meet and discuss various matters was noted, as was the continued support of the local MP and councillors in pressing for further improvements. The HRU Committee were thanked for all their help and support throughout the year.
Campaign priorities for the year ahead
Harborough Rail Users are holding their Annual General Meeting on Monday 11th November 2019 in Room 5 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: