Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Harborough MP Neil O'Brien took the opportunity during House of Commons Transport questions today, 18th July, to ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Andrew Jones MP) about the intended cycle hub for Market Harborough station:
'East Midlands Trains, my local rail users group and I are bidding for funds for a cycle hub at Market Harborough railway station. The Minister, who has recently visited, knows that many more people are taking that healthy way to the station in the morning. Will he look favourably on our bid?'
Replying, the Minister said:
'I thoroughly enjoyed my recent visit to Market Harborough to see the work taking place there: the significant upgrade to services, the straightening of the line and a new station. The new east midlands franchise will deliver over £17 million of investment in station facilities across the route, including extra cycle spaces, 100 of which will be delivered at Market Harborough. I am very happy to champion that, and to encourage smooth and early delivery.'
We now look forward to rapid progress towards implementation of this long-awaited scheme to provide more, better quality and more secure cycle parking arrangements at the station.
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.
The Rail Minister, Andrew Jones MP, visited Market Harborough station on 27th June. He was on his way to Leicester to meet regional transport agency Midlands Connect to receive their Business Case for the ‘Midlands Rail Hub’ programme of rail investments. He took the opportunity to stop off at Market Harborough and view our station. Harborough MP Neil O'Brien was also there, plus representatives of Network Rail, East Midlands Trains and the Leicester & Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
HRU Chair Steve Jones was invited to meet the Minister, and we spoke about the major improvements already made but also the need for additional enhancements to accessibility, cycle parking, toilets and platform canopies. Electrification was also mentioned, along with the planned new rolling stock. The Minister is plainly enthusiastic about the investment going into the railway nationally and it was good to have the opportunity to meet him and discuss local rail issues with him. The picture shows the Minister being interviewed by local radio station HfM.
A full press release from the Department for Transport can be viewed at www.gov.uk/government/news/53-million-line-upgrade-to-help-make-midlands-railways-fit-for-the-future.
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.