Major plans for tens of millions of pounds worth of improvements to Market Harborough station have been put forward by Network Rail.
The redevelopment proposals, still to be agreed, include:
n Erecting a brand new station building on the opposite side of the railway tracks from the current building.
n Moving the main entrance of the station to the opposite side of the tracks.
n Moving the main station car park to the opposite side of the tracks.
n Building a new main station access road off Rockingham Road, where the existing gravel track is.
n Downgrading or even selling off the existing, listed station building.
n Building a new footbridge over the railway line at Market Harborough.
The major alteration scheme has been accelerated by the plan to straighten the S-curve of the railway line as it passes through Harborough, the Mail understands.
The straightened line would have to go through the current station car park.
An ‘information event’ on the Market Harborough station proposals is at the town’s Market Hall on Saturday, February 27, from 10am to 7pm.
Network Rail hopes the station redevelopment work can start towards the end of 2017, and finish by the end of 2019. Network Rail gave a presentation of their proposals to Harborough District Council this week.
Cllr Phil King, deputy leader of the council, said: “It’s all very exciting. We’d be getting an improved station, more car parking, a better railway line - and station traffic can avoid that double right turn into the station. It’s a fantastic improvement. The only downside is have they got the money to do it yet?”
Cllr Dr Sarah Hill said: “This is a great scheme for the town and it’s to be welcomed.
“The electrification and track realignment gives us a window of opportunity for these major improvements. And Network Rail reckon they can do it all and only close the station for three days.”
Steve Jones, of the Harborough Rail Users group, said: “May a thunderbolt strike anyone who wants to get rid of the existing station building altogether. But having said that, I think it’s a good idea.
“Rebuilding a station at platform level, extending platforms that are shorter than trains, downgrading the entrance road junction that is at best awkward and at worst hazardous; yes, let’s sort this out properly.”