Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
EMR have advised that there are to be some temporary reductions in the timetable from Monday 17th January because of Covid-related staff shortages. In a letter to stakeholders on 11th January, they said:
“EMR, like other rail operators and other industries, is experiencing high levels of Covid-related absence among its workforce. In addition, Government advice to work from home means passenger demand is also very low.
Short notice cancellations are incredibly frustrating and something we are determined to avoid as much as possible. To help, we are removing approximately 4% of our services. This means we can protect those which are important for customers who are still travelling and provide a more reliable service.
These changes will remain under constant review and amendments will be made as needed. You can find details of specific trains and routes on our website here: https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/amended-timetable
Owing to this, the handful of services that were planned to be reinstated on Monday 3rd January 2022 were not reinstated and instead form part of the list of amendments; as detailed in the route specifics on the webpage above.
Given the week-by-week nature of the reductions, online journey planners will be updated on a weekly basis.”
For us in Market Harborough, the affected (ie temporarily cancelled) trains are all on weekdays. The following trains will not run.
There are no planned alterations to weekend services.
The situation is subject to weekly review.
Reduced train service. The 15:03 to Nottingham is seen from the subway steps at Market Harborough on 13th January. This train is not one of those temporarily removed from the timetable.
Photo: Steve Jones
Users of Market Harborough station will have noticed evidence of electrification really getting under way. At the time of writing, overhead line masts have been installed just north of the platforms, and through Little Bowden. Lengthy stretches of the line through Braybrooke and most of the way to Kettering now have at least some evidence of electrification, whether that be the mast support bases, masts themselves and, in many cases, the gantry brackets that will carry the wires. The power supply substation at Braybrooke is also very much under construction.
The Government’s Integrated Rail Plan promises electrification of the entire Midland Main Line, right through to Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield. We now trust that once the electrification has reached Market Harborough, it can swiftly continue towards Leicester.
It’s coming. On a sunny 13th January 2022, an EMR Meridian train passes the first electrification masts at Market Harborough station as it arrives with the 15:03 to Nottingham. Most of the line through to Kettering now has some evidence of electrification equipment by the lineside.
Photo: Steve Jones
In the new timetable starting on 12th December 2021, the last three Intercity trains from St Pancras on weekdays (23:05, 23:35 and 00:15 from St Pancras) are diverted via Corby, with bus connections from Kettering for Market Harborough. This is to allow for overnight engineering work in connection with electrifying the line from Kettering. As this arrangement is in place for the whole of the present timetable and beyond, we in Harborough Rail Users queried this with EMR. They have confirmed that it is planned to continue at least until December 2023. In the circumstances, it is understandable, and we hope the lengthy duration reflects the anticipated continuation of electrification beyond Market Harborough, as promised in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan.
On the buses. Rail replacement buses wait at Market Harborough for services to Kettering and Leicester on 18th December 2021 during a weekend line closure for engineering work. Late night trains at Market Harborough during the week are diverted via Corby, with bus connections from Kettering, until the end of next year at least.
Photo: Steve Jones
The winter timetables across the national rail network came into operation on Sunday 12th December 2021. For Market Harborough, there is little change from the previous timetable, though there are some alterations to late night and very early morning trains because of engineering work.
The timetable for our line is attached below, and all timetables are available from the Network Rail website at https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/the-timetable/electronic-national-rail-timetable/.
Work on the long-awaited electrification of the main line from Kettering to Market Harborough officially started on Saturday 11th December. Much preparatory work had already taken place, including cutting back of lineside vegetation that might interfere with the overhead lines, plus a start on the power supply substation at Braybrooke, just outside Market Harborough. The first job for the electrification teams, who are operating out of site compounds at Rushton, Braybrooke and behind Platform 1 at Market Harborough, is to install the tubular steel piles in the ground to support the overhead line masts. Several of these were already in place at Braybrooke on 11th December. Work continues on this operation, mostly overnight plus some weekend working, until January.
Once complete, the electrification and power supply upgrade will enable the new Aurora trains to operate on electric power south from Market Harborough when they are introduced into service in 2023. By then, we hope the decision to continue beyond Market Harborough will have been made, in accordance with the Government’s promise in its Integrated Rail Plan, published on 18th November 2021, to electrify the whole Midland Main Line.
Early sign of progress: an electrification contractor’s road-rail vehicle heads south past the former level crossing at Glebe Road, Little Bowden, on Saturday 11th December, the day electrification work officially started.
Photo: Steve Jones
Getting ready: the electrification site compound at Braybrooke on 11th December. Overhead line supports can be seen on the left, stored ready for installation. In the middle foreground is one of the first mast support piles, freshly installed, while in the middle distance is a temporary ramp for road-rail vehicles to gain access to the track.
Pictures: Steve Jones