Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
The Government’s Office of Rail and Road publishes annual statistics including estimates of station usage. For the reporting year April 2022 to March 2023, these figures were released on 14th December 2023. Having had a turbulent year, with industrial disputes and engineering work frequently disrupting our train service, we were keen to see the level of usage of the station. The total for Market Harborough in the year was 762,792. This is a 43.6% increase on 2021-22’s total of 531,140. Given the disruption, this is a healthy increase and represents a good step back towards the pre-Covid peak of 898,058 in 2019-20. It made Market Harborough the 574th busiest station on the network, from a total of 2,578 stations in April 2023! The main destination or origin for journeys from or to Market Harborough was St Pancras.
The full statistics for the whole UK national rail network for 2022-23 can be found here:
Harborough Rail Users held their Annual General Meeting on Thursday 23rd November 2023, online on Zoom.
Steve Jones was re-elected as Chair, and the other officers and Committee were elected for the forthcoming year. We were pleased to welcome two new members to our Committee. The priorities for the group were confirmed; these are:
Back in July, we reported that Transport for London (TfL) had given notice of their intention to pull out of the Travelcard agreement with train operators for Day Travelcards. The background was a financial shortfall at TfL, who felt they received an inadequate share of the ticket revenue. This meant the Day Travelcard – though not the season ticket versions – was to be withdrawn from 21st January 2024.
Along with many others, including rail user groups and local authorities, we in Harborough Rail Users considered this a seriously retrograde step. We made representations both to TfL and to our MP, Neil O’Brien, urging a reversal of the decision. The Travelcard is one of the best examples of integrated transport this country has; one simple ticket giving return rail travel to London and unlimited local rail, tube, tram and bus travel throughout the relevant fare zones plus discounts on the Thames Clipper river buses.
We were therefore delighted to hear on 25th October that TfL and the Rail Delivery Group had come to an agreement such that the Day Travelcard would continue to be available. According to Rail Minister Huw Merriman, the deal came after ‘government intervention’.
However, from 24th March 2024 there will be 3% one-off increase on the price of a Travelcard on top of the annual fare increase.
Harborough Rail Users are holding their 2023 Annual General Meeting on Thursday 23rd November 2023, starting at 7:00pm, as an online meeting on Zoom.
As well as electing officers for the group for the forthcoming year, the meeting will consider relevant topics including reviewing the past year. Campaign priorities for the forthcoming year will also be considered. Among these are the continuing disruption to train services, the consultation on ticket office closures, and the progress with electrification of the line.
Anyone who cares about Market Harborough's station and rail service and would like to attend the online AGM is invited to contact Harborough Rail Users via our Get in Touch facility.
The hard work done this year by Market Harborough in Bloom Volunteers at the station has paid off with a Judge’s Special Award. This recognised the ‘difficult conditions’ for such activities at a busy railway station. As well as maintaining the amenity planting around the town centre, Market Harborough in Bloom are the ‘adopters’ of the station under EMR’s Station Adoption scheme. They have installed and look after various planting schemes around the station, aimed at softening the rather utilitarian nature of the new platforms and enhancing the station forecourt.
We in Harborough Rail Users maintain a close working relationship with Market Harborough in Bloom and warmly congratulate them for the recognition they have achieved.