Electrification to be extended to Market Harborough06th Mar 2019

The Department for Transport has announced that the Midland Main Line is to be electrified to Market Harborough.  This is an extension of the scheme currently under way to electrify from Bedford to Kettering and Corby.  The decision had been anticipated, as the power supply for that electrification will be from the National Grid high-voltage power line that crosses the railway near Braybrooke, just south of Market Harborough.  It makes sense to feed that power back to Kettering using overhead wires rather than an underground conduit, and then to extend it for 'the last mile' into Market Harborough.  The decision means that our trains will run electrically all the way between Market Harborough and London.  This will make them quieter, cleaner and faster.  Until electrification is extended further, however, they will switch to diesel for the section north to Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield.  

The Market Harborough electrification is due to be completed in December 2023.

The decision is warmly welcome, but we need to ensure that Market Harborough retains an inter-city service rather than becoming the terminus for outer-suburban trains.


HRU given site tour of station construction works - 1st March 201902nd Mar 2019

On Friday 1st March, two members of the HRU Committee joined a guided tour of the Market Harborough station construction site.  This was for local stakeholders, including Harborough MP Neil O'Brien and representatives of the Harborough Disability Access Group, and was by invitation of Network Rail, their contractors and East Midlands Trains.  Dressed head-to-foot in the regulation orange safety gear, we were shown the progress so far with the new platforms, footbridge and track that has so far been laid on the new alignment.  Then it was back to the site office for a sandwich lunch and a presentation on the work still to be done, including the plans for completion of the work.  This includes completing the bridge, installing waiting rooms and shelters on both platforms and, ultimately, extension of the car park over the land where the current platforms are. 

The station will be closed for six days from Tuesday 28th May to Sunday 2nd June inclusive to allow the new layout to be connected into the main line.  When it reopens on Monday 3rd June, the new northbound platform will be complete, but the new southbound platform will need further work associated with demolition of the existing platforms. This will mean the existing subway being temporarily closed, though by then the footbridge will be available.  Full completion, including 200 extra car park spaces, is due for December 2019. 

We remain concerned about the lack of any plans for additional toilets on the southbound side, access for the disabled from the booking office to the platforms, and lack of any platform canopies.  Proper provision for cycle parking also remains to be resolved.  However, we are grateful to Network Rail for arranging the site visit and for engaging in open dialogue about the scheme.


New footbridge installed at Market Harborough station24th Feb 2019

A significant milestone in the rebuilding of the station was reached during the early hours of Sunday 24th February, with the installation of the main steelwork for the new footbridge.  This, funded under the national Access for All programme, will be equipped with lifts as well as steps, to enable easy transfer between the two new platforms.  It provides a very visible landmark in what is a currently major construction site.  Also on 24th February, temporary portable toilets were installed in the station forecourt.  These replace the existing toilets in the building on Platform 1 while the building work continues.  The station is due to be closed for six days, from Tuesday 28th May to Sunday 2nd June inclusive, to allow the new track alignment and platforms to be connected up and brought into use on Monday 3rd June.


East Midlands Trains franchise extended to August 201920th Feb 2019

Though the next franchise is not due to start until 19th August 2019, the previous East Midlands Trains (EMT) contract was due to expire on 2nd March!  Accordingly, the Department for Transport (DfT) and Stagecoach Group have agreed a direct award extension for EMT to cover the interim period.  The next franchise operator is due to be announced by the DfT in April.  However, if there is any delay, the direct award has an option in it for further extension for up to six 'reporting periods' of four weeks each, i.e. 24 weeks, to February 2020.  The direct award includes:

  • £150,000 investment in accessibility improvements at stations
  • A simplified process for Delay Repay compensation for late trains
  • A mobile phone app giving real-time information on train running plus facilities for booking and paying for tickets
  • On-board 4G WiFi, with 15 minutes' free use in standard class 
  • Continued preparation for the next franchise, with particular reference to provision of greater capacity.

We in Harborough Rail Users look forward to working with EMT over this period of transition pending appointment of the next operator of our service.

 

 


Coffee Kiosk van now open at car park entrance02nd Jan 2019

The new year saw the opening of the coffee kiosk van at the platform entrance from the new car park.  This is operated by the Engine Room Cafe, who run the existing facility in the station booking hall.  It is very welcome and provides a range of teas, coffees and light snacks for those using the car park but who may not have time to go down to main cafe in the booking hall.  Opening hours are 05:30 - 09:30, for the morning peak.  We wish it every success.


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The Department for Transport has announced that the Midland Main Line is to be electrified to Market Harborough.  This is an extension of the .. more