Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
EMR have advised that weekday peak-time Bedford calls are to be reinstated on certain trains, from as soon as tomorrow morning (Thursday 26th March). The thinning out of train services has enabled Network Rail to respond swiftly to EMR's request to do this. The relevant trains are:
Though this is an additional stop for our trains to and from London, it will be a big - albeit temporary - improvement for those travelling to and from Bedford.
EMR state that the situation is under constant review and timetables may therefore change week by week. They will publish details on their website:
How long before we are back to normal? A Meridian and an HST call simultaneously at Market Harborough on 3rd September 2019, before any of us had even heard of COVID-19.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop and day-to-day life continues to wind down for the time being, the UK rail industry has announced reductions to train services. EMR has announced that EMR Intercity services will be reduced from start of service on Monday 23rd March to:
This service pattern will be in place until further notice. There will be reductions also to the EMR Regional services. The intention, however, is to ensure all stations and lines of route remain open.
To quote EMR: 'The railway is not exempt from the effects of the virus but also has a critical role to play in supporting the country at this difficult time. This includes helping vital key workers continue to travel as well as responsibly following Government guidance to fight the spread of the virus.'
Further information including actual timetables will be published on the EMR website: https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/reduced-timetable.
Following discussions and comments from local rail users, Harborough Rail Users have submitted a response to the EMR consultation on the timetable from December 2020. This is when the electrification from Bedford to Kettering and Corby opens, with two trains per hour (2tph) between Corby and London, calling at all EMR intermediate stations. Because of this, EMR propose that the Intercity trains that serve Market Harborough will stop only at Kettering on their way to or from St Pancras. We will still have two trains per hour, at roughly half-hourly intervals, with Nottingham via Leicester being the other destination. London to Sheffield will also have 2tph but these will run non-stop between St Pancras and Leicester.
We have submitted our comments:
EMR posted details of their proposals for the Midland Main Line on their website: https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/december2020.
The consultation closes on 14th February and responses will then be analysed. Between March and September, EMR, Network Rail, the Office of Rail and Road (the Government's regulatory body), and other train operators such as Thameslink, will determine how best to accommodate the various demands on the line. Agreed timetables must be published by mid-September 2020, 12 weeks before they come into effect in mid-December.
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.
The new timetable came into operation on Sunday 15th December. There is hardly any change for our train service at Market Harborough. (Unlike some areas, such as Great Western, which sees major overhauls following further electrification work, for example.)
For us, there is only one significant alteration; the 18:34 from St Pancras on weekdays gains a Market Harborough stop (at 19:40). This plugs a previous 42-minute gap in the evening peak timetable; something we in Harborough Rail Users have wanted resolved for some time. As this train also calls at Kettering, this also addresses the very long previous gap in the evening peak service from there to Market Harborough. We lose our stop on the 19:01 from St Pancras, but the next following train for Market Harborough is at 19:04, three minutes later! Other than that, apart from minor re-timings by the odd minute here or there, there are no changes.
On a bright Sunday 15th December 2019, Meridian unit 222004 undertakes Market Harborough's first northbound departure in the new timetable with the 10:26 to Nottingham.