Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
December 2020 sees significant changes to services on the Midland Main Line from St Pancras, which includes Market Harborough. The main change is the opening of the EMR Electric service between London and Corby, which doubles in frequency to two per hour each way. This brings the standard pattern of EMR train services out of St Pancras to six per hour in each direction, comprising:
This means that we retain two trains per hour in each direction. Southbound, they will all call at Kettering only, then fast to St Pancras. We shall have to change at Kettering to reach any other intermediate station between there and London. Passengers for Thameslink-only destinations such as Harpenden or St Albans will have to change twice. However, the peak-time bus connection between Wellingborough and Bedford will cease, as trains will be reinstated.
Northbound, our trains will all go to Nottingham, essentially as now. One per hour will be non-stop from Leicester; the other will call at Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway and Beeston. The only significant change from now is that the East Midlands Parkway stop transfers from the fast train to the stopping train.
We do not yet know the actual timings, of course, nor about any variations to this standard pattern during peak times or for early morning or late evening services. For example, some of our late evening northbound trains currently go to Derby or Leeds, as that is where the depots are.
Full details of the proposed timetable are available at:
Harborough Rail Users will be responding to the consultation. Please let us know if there is anything you would like us to take into account: use the Get in Touch facility on our website https://www.harborough-rail.org.uk/get-in-touch.html or email us at email@example.com
This is a public consultation, so the EMR website gives a facility for you to respond directly as well. The consultation closes on 15th February 2020.
And don’t forget, this is the timetable for December 2020 – a year away yet!
The much-heralded new timetable came into force on Sunday 20th May, with the full effect for most people on Monday 21st. It is the result of the introduction of the next phase of the Thameslink upgrade - itself not without controversy - and brings significant changes to EMT's main line services.
All timetables are inevitably a compromise but until the programme of upgrading work on the Midland Main Line is completed in 2020, there are some significant adverse effects for our services. We lose our peak-direction peak-time calls at Bedford and Luton, with a bus connection from Wellingborough to Bedford. (Luton passengers can double-back via Luton Airport Parkway). However, few of our peak trains call at Wellingborough, so the bus is of little use for people travelling from Bedford to Market Harborough.
We also lose some connectivity with Thameslink stations north of London and there are big gaps in local connections between Market Harborough and Kettering. Harborough Rail Users have raised these points with EMT, who have undertaken to review the timetable and see what improvements can be made at the next timetable change, in December.
Four members of the HRU committee met with EMT at the company’s Derby headquarters on 15th February, at EMT’s invitation. The purpose of the meeting was to review the timetable due to come into effect on 20th May alongside the next phase of the Thameslink upgrade programme. The increased Thameslink service puts pressure on track capacity and that means modifications to EMT services, including removal of Bedford and Luton (Town) calls from their peak-direction trains. For more detail, see 16th December 2017 entry below.
We had a very open and useful discussion with EMT’s Duncan Cale, Stakeholder Manager, and Michael Webb, Head of Train Planning & Access. We reviewed the planned timetable alongside the present one, including:
EMT noted our concerns and aspirations and, though their room for manoeuvre in the May 2018 timetable is limited, they undertook to consider the matters discussed. This plus operating experience will be considered in developing the December 2018 and May 2019 timetables.
We are grateful to EMT for the opportunity to discuss these matters so openly with them.
MAY 2018 TIMETABLE Introduction of new Thameslink timetable results in changes to East Midlands Trains services
East Midlands Trains (EMT) have announced some significant changes to train services from 20 May 2018. This is because of the introduction of a new Thameslink timetable, which will see 18 trains per hour (tph) through the central London Thameslink tunnel. As most of these will run onto the Midland Main Line towards Luton and Bedford, there will be pressure on track capacity until upgrade work is completed in 2020.
Full details remain unknown until the new timetable is made available in February 2018.
However, EMT have stated that:
"From the timetable change on 20 May 2018 until the completion of the Midland Main Line Upgrade in 2020, East Midlands Trains peak-time services to and from London will no longer call at Bedford or Luton. Direct East Midlands Trains rail services will continue to run from Leicestershire and Northamptonshire to London, and will continue to call at Luton Airport Parkway throughout the day. Off-peak and weekend services will continue to call at Bedford and Luton. During the morning peak, northbound services from Bedford and Luton will continue, and during the evening peak, southbound services to London will still call at Bedford and Luton.
Customers using East Midlands Trains services to commute from the north to Bedford during peak hours will be provided with an alternative, fully accessible coach service that will connect with rail services at Wellingborough. This will run every 30 minutes between Wellingborough and Bedford and any monthly or annual season ticket holders using the replacement coach service will be eligible for a 50% discount on their season ticket."
The main effects for Market Harborough are:
In May 2016, East Midlands Trains invited us to contribute to the consultation on the timetable from December 2016.
We responded by restating our aspirations for the timetable, especially regarding the gap in the evening peak service from London and the need for a later last southbound train and an earlier first train arrival in Nottingham on weekdays. We also called for an earlier northbound train on Sundays and better connections with other services at interchange stations.