Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
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.
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.
This was the latest in a series of drop-in sessions at the station, where people could find out more about the station rebuild scheme. Representatives from Network Rail, EMT and contractors Amey were on hand to answer questions. Though the planned scheme is now well under way, decisions remain to be made about the additional lift, toilets and platform canopies we seek.
On Wednesday 11th April, three members of the HRU Committee met with Network Rail's Project Sponsor for the Market Harborough upgrade scheme at the station for an update on the project following the collapse earlier in the year of main contractor Carillion. In essence:
A site visit at the station took place on 1st December between three members of the HRU Committee, Harborough MP Neil O’Brien and representatives of the DfT, Network Rail and East Midlands Trains. This arose from a meeting on 14th November between Neil O’Brien and Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP at the Houses of Parliament on 14th November; with the DfT also present along with HRU Chair Steve Jones.
The site visit was convened at the DfT's suggestion to explore two particular concerns we have about the station upgrade and track realignment: the lack of proper access for the disabled from the booking office to the platforms and the lack of toilets on the new southbound platform. We looked around the station site and considered the implications including the best location for a lift, the requirements for mains electrical, water and drainage services and the other improvements that are included in the plans for the station. The various parties listened to what we said and, while not disagreeing, it was clear that limited finance is the main constraint here. There are many competing demands for limited funds! We are grateful that the various parties took time out to visit Market Harborough and discuss the issues openly with us. However, we will continue to press for these enhancements to what is otherwise a significant improvement to the station.