Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
The subway and the south end of Platform 2 at Market Harborough opened as planned on Monday 17th February 2020. When the new platforms opened on 3rd June 2019, only the northern half of southbound Platform 2 was complete. The southern end was then built across the land occupied by the old track layout. This also meant that the subway between the two platforms remained closed. It had been intended to open these along with the car park extension on 15th December, but the necessary approvals had not been signed off.
However, they are now open and, for the first time in its history, Market Harborough has full-length platforms on both main line tracks. Gone are the days when people alighting from a southbound train had to walk forward to be sure of being next to a door by the platform.
Some finishing off is still needed. For example, the short projecting canopy at the top of the subway steps awaits its roof glazing; installation of this was prevented by Storm Dennis over the preceding weekend. However, credit is due to the contractors, who continued with the main work despite the storm and ensured that the platform and subway were open for use with the first train on Monday.
Opening day, Monday 17th February 2020. The 10:26 HST to St Pancras comes to a stand at the south end of Platform 2 at Market Harborough, luxuriating in the knowledge that the entire train is accommodated at the full-length platform. Other work is still planned at Market Harborough, including new toilets to replace those in the architecturally challenged 1970s building at the left of the picture.
HRU Chair Steve Jones met Network Rail’s Communications Manager Celia Davis at Market Harborough station on 10th February, to discuss current topics for the station and the line. These included the subway and full length of platform 2, which have remained closed since the new platforms opened in June 2019.
We discussed the extended car park, which is a major improvement, though HRU feel that better provision is needed for short-stay parking, especially for those dropping off or picking up passengers from that side of the station. We await further information on the planned further improvements including permanent toilets, plus provision for landscaping around the station.
We also discussed the Station Road bridge in Great Bowden, where local residents have expressed concern about the narrow footway since the bridge was modified to improve its protection from damage by road vehicles. The local authorities are also looking into this.
HRU were later notified that the subway and platform 2 have now been approved for opening on Monday 17th February 2020.
The extended car park at Market Harborough station opened today, 15th December 2019, the same day as the new timetable came into operation. The car park extension adds 200 spaces to the 300 already in place, which were regularly full by early morning. It will be interesting to see how quickly the 500 spaces fill up!
See also https://www.railbusinessdaily.com/new-bigger-car-park-opens-at-market-harborough-station/
Unfortunately, the full length of (southbound) platform 2 is not yet in use, as work continues around the subway and steps. We are hoping that will be completed soon.
EMR have announced that the much-anticipated extension to the station car park is due to open on Sunday 15th December 2019. This will provide an extra 200 spaces, bringing the total to 500. The existing 300-space car park is regularly full by early morning, with excess cars parking in nearby residential roads, or on a non-railway 'overflow' car park that is well named as it regularly floods!
Work is also under way around the subway steps and the southern end of the southbound platform, so we hope that opens soon as well.
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