Rail chiefs vow to push ahead with improvements in Harborough after holding crunch talks with local MP

“Stations like Market Harborough are an important gateway for the areas they are in - and I’m keen to ensure our station does justice to the wonderful town we have" said the MP

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 5:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 5:02 pm
Neil O'Brien MP with Gary Walsh, route director for Network Rail at Market Harborough Railway Station.

Rail chiefs are vowing to push ahead to improve Market Harborough’s railway station after holding crunch talks with Harborough MP Neil O’Brien.

Network Rail and East Midlands Railway insist they are committed to improving the busy mainline station after the MP called on the two major travel operators to redouble their efforts.

Neil said: “It was a really useful and productive meeting, for which I’d like to thank both Network Rail and East Midlands Rail.

“It was helpful to have the meeting at the station itself so we could easily see the different issues and areas of improvement.

“Stations like Market Harborough are an important gateway for the areas they are in - and I’m keen to ensure our station does justice to the wonderful town we have.

“We discussed a range of areas, including the general maintenance of the station and grounds, as well as the configuration of the car park at the front and how this could be better utilised for drop-offs and pick-ups,” said the Conservative MP.

“I’m pleased that both Network Rail and East Midlands Rail acknowledged these points and have agreed to look at what more can be done here.

“They will be considering the various elements we discussed and coming back with an action plan for improvements that I very much look forward to seeing in the coming weeks.”

Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail, said: “It’s vital that our stations positively reflect the communities they serve and I am grateful to Neil for raising his concerns about Market Harborough with us.

“We had a productive site meeting and we are committed to work with our colleagues in EMR and the community to make this station a more fitting gateway for the town.”

Rachel Biggs, Customer Experience Manager at East Midlands Railway, said: “We were happy to meet up to discuss ways to improve Market Harborough Station and address some of the concerns that have recently been raised.

“We look forward to working with Neil and Network Rail in the coming weeks to understand which elements can be adapted or improved.”

Cllr Phil Knowles, who heads up the Liberal Democrat group on Harborough District Council, has fought for years to “turn Market Harborough station into a station for the 21st century”.

“I’m delighted that our MP Neil O’Brien is getting behind the campaign to make our railway station better on so many different levels.

“I wholeheartedly welcome his involvement.

“There have been some strange and baffling decisions taken over new work at our mainline station over the last few years,” insisted Cllr Knowles.

“The new cycle hub at the front is in an inappropriate place – it should be adjacent to the London-bound platform or by the car park.

“It detracts from our historic station.

“And why have we still got temporary toilets there after they first appeared in the middle of 2019?

“What on earth is going on there, why is it taking so long to give travellers proper new toilets?

“The sooner Network Rail sort this out and tidy up the entire rundown area around our station the better,” said Cllr Knowles.