Emergency services have been dealing with a major gas leak in Great Bowden this afternoon (Wednesday).
The leak, believed to be very close to the railway line, was so powerful it is audible from 100 metres away - “like a gust of wind”, local residents said.
Dozens of homes along a 200 metre stretch of Station Road, in Great Bowden and Great Bowden Road, in Market Harborough, had to be evacuated.
Great Bowden Road was closed by the Fire Service, close to the junction with The Ridgeway.
East Midlands trains was warned to stop running trains between Market Harborough and Leicester.
The trains were back up and running by 4.45pm, altough delays will remain for the next couple of hours.
Most residents who had been evacuated were expected to be back in their homes by 6.30pm, and the rest later this evening.
A National Grid spokesperson said at 5.40pm that the leak was now “under control”
The leak was first reported at 2.28pm today, just after the Harborough Mail went to press.
A National Grid team have been on site all afternoon, looking for the source of the leak.
A regional spokesperson for the National Grid said the leak was from a medium pressure pipe located close to Great Bowden Road, which would mean “a lot of gas coming out quite quickly”.
She said the National Grid had had a number of calls from members of the public about the smell of gas on the Great Bowden side of Market Harborough.
But she added: “If you do smell gas, please phone 0800 111 999. Don’t assume it’s this - we still want to hear from you.”
Local resident Katie Duff, of Great Bowden Road said: “Luckily I’m not within the 100metre zone, so I can get in and out of my house, The sound if escaping gas is very loud, like a gust of wind.”
Another resident, Mandy Welton added: “We believe the leak is close to the railway bridge between Market Harborough and Great Bowden.”
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service sent to fire crews from Harborough and Wigston at 4.26pm.
A spokesman for the fire and rescue service said that a 24-inch gas main has failed, resulting in a 100-metre cordon being set up and an evacuation of surrounding properties within the exclusion zone.
A nearby primary school assisted to accommodate residents.
It is also believed that the town’s library was evacuated and that some shops, including Waterstones, were closed.
Residents complained of headaches as a result of the gas leak.
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