The first piece of work to upgrade the track at Market Harborough takes place this weekend as part of a major project to increase the line speed through the station.
The Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement Programme is a key part of a wider upgrade to the Midland Main Line, which runs from St Pancras to Sheffield and the work taking place at the station will see new track and ballast installed, as well as work to the signalling.
It’s the first part of work to straighten the track which, once completed in December 2019 will allow trains to travel through the area at higher speeds resulting in a reduced journey time which will improve connectivity across the region and help to drive economic growth.
Due to the nature of the work, no trains will call at Market Harborough station on the following dates: Sunday March 4, Sunday March 11, Sunday March 18, and Sunday March 25.
Instead, bus replacement services will be in operation and those wishing to travel are advised to check before they travel, either with East Midlands Trains or via National Rail Enquiries.
The track improvement is the latest stage of the project carried out by Network Rail in partnership with East Midlands Trains. Work has already taken place to improve the station for customers, including developing a new access road to reduce congestion into the station and building a new car park. Further upcoming work includes improving access at the station by installing a new footbridge with lifts, and extending platforms, which will reduce the stepping distance onto trains.
Rob McIntosh, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “We’re delighted to have moved onto the next phase of this major upgrade, which will see the track straightened. This work will mean trains can travel at faster speeds along this section, resulting in a reduced journey time for passengers and we hope the improvements will help to drive economic growth in the East Midlands.
“To allow the work to be carried out safely, no trains will be able to run on the line and bus replacement services are in operation. We know this can impact on passengers and we’ve worked closely with East Midlands Trains to keep disruption to a minimum. We thank passengers for their patience whilst this upgrade takes place.”
Jake Kelly, managing director of East Midlands Trains, said: “Along with Network Rail, we are working hard to deliver these unprecedented improvements on our route to London.
"The work taking place at Market Harborough is a crucial part of the long-term plan for change on the Midland Main Line Upgrade which will provide better journeys for the growing number of people using the railway. People who have been travelling through the station will have already seen work taking place on the new car park which is expected to open in early spring and this next phase of work will see the start of major work on the infrastructure.
“Inevitably, there is some short-term pain whilst this improvement work is carried out, and along with Network Rail, we have tried to limit the disruption as much as we can. However, it does mean that trains will be replaced by buses from Market Harborough on Sundays during March and we’d advise customers to check their journeys before travelling."