Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
The hard work done this year by Market Harborough in Bloom Volunteers at the station has paid off with a Judge’s Special Award. This recognised the ‘difficult conditions’ for such activities at a busy railway station. As well as maintaining the amenity planting around the town centre, Market Harborough in Bloom are the ‘adopters’ of the station under EMR’s Station Adoption scheme. They have installed and look after various planting schemes around the station, aimed at softening the rather utilitarian nature of the new platforms and enhancing the station forecourt.
We in Harborough Rail Users maintain a close working relationship with Market Harborough in Bloom and warmly congratulate them for the recognition they have achieved.
On Monday 10th July, a working party took place at the station, clearing weeds from the gravel area behind Platform 2 and generally tidying up. As well as the local station adopters from Market Harborough in Bloom, several colleagues from EMR and the Department for Transport came along to help. They were on a community support day, and put in a lot of effort to help.
Tuesday 11th July saw the judges from East Midlands in Bloom visit the town, as part of the regional competition. They had a good look around the station planting. We now await their verdict!
Getting down to it. Market Harborough in Bloom, EMR and DfT volunteers clearing weeds near the shrub planters behind Platform 2 on 10th July 2023.
Photos: Steve Jones
In full bloom: floral planting near
the car park steps.
As a postscript to the item below (10th October 2022), two additional planting boxes in the style of traditional railway wagons have been installed at Market Harborough station. Standing on their own length of ‘track’, they have been placed on the south side of the car park steps, to complement the two luggage trolleys on the other side. As with the restored trolleys, they were built by a local retired engineer, using wood generously donated by Harborough firm Glenmere Timber.
Station wagons: the two additional planting boxes for Market Harborough in Bloom, located by the car park steps onto the southbound platform. Photo: Steve Jones
East Midlands Railway (EMR) operate a Station Adoption scheme, whereby local individuals and community groups can ‘adopt’ their local station. The stated aim is ‘to create station environments that our customers and East Midlands Railway can be proud of’. Though largely aimed at the small unstaffed rural stations, it can apply to any station on the EMR network. Market Harborough station has been adopted by Market Harborough in Bloom, who maintain the award-winning decorative planting throughout the town centre from their base in Welland Park.
Back in 2021, Market Harborough in Bloom, with the generous help of local people and businesses, restored the two old platform trolleys that used to support planting boxes on the platform at the old station. These had become totally derelict, having been pushed into the long grass while the platforms were rebuilt. See here for more on this.
However, on 10th October 2022, they were installed at the station, to the right of the steps on the approach from the main car park and have been planted up with flowers. Some additional boxes in the style of traditional railway wagons have also been made and these will be placed on the other side of the steps. The intention is that these, and other planting around the station, will give our station a bit of a ‘lift’ by softening its rather functional appearance at platform level.
Blooming marvellous: The two restored platform trolleys being installed at the station on 10th October by Market Harborough in Bloom volunteers. Photos: Steve Jones
The restoration of the two old platform trolleys for use by Market Harborough in Bloom has been completed. Local retired engineer Phil Clark undertook the work, with the timber for the decks generously donated by Glenmere Timber on Gores Lane. The trolleys are to be installed at the station as part of a decorative planting scheme by Market Harborough in Bloom, who are the 'adopters' of the station. The aim is to provide a colourful 'Welcome to Market Harborough' feature at this important gateway to the town.
The exact location for the trolleys is still to be decided, but the hope is to place them near the top of the ramp from the booking office to platform 1, on the site of the 1970s waiting room building once that has been demolished and replaced by new facilities. Until that is done and the station is ready to receive them, the trolleys are now in secure storage. The pictures below show the two trolleys in the workshop awaiting transfer to temporary storage, and in the proud possession of Market Harborough in Bloom. To see the state the trolleys were in prior to restoration, scroll down to the item dated 23/10/2020 below.
(Photos: Steve Jones)