Calls for action following ongoing disruption to train services from Market Harborough

Rail users have hit out at the current level of serviceRail users have hit out at the current level of service
Rail users have hit out at the current level of service
Claims strikes have left the service ‘effectively useless’

Harborough Rail Users group is calling for action following ongoing disruption to services at the town’s station.

Members say strikes have left the service ‘effectively useless’ with people unable to rely on it.

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The national rail industry has been hit by industrial disputes for several months..

East Midlands Railway – which provides services at Market Harborough – is involved in another dispute with the Unite union.

It means on days when the rest of the country has had a regular service the local timetable has been cut dramatically, with the train to Leicester often not leaving until after 9am and the last train back from Leicester before 5pm.

A spokesman for Harborough Rail Users said: "We acknowledge East Midlands Railway have tried to provide a limited service on strike days. But the situation is still unacceptable.

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"The timetable on these days is effectively useless for many people working in Leicester and it is also having a severe impact on those commuting to London."

The group is calling on Harborough MP Neil O’Brien to step in and help resolve the situation.

The spokesman added: “We do not apportion blame in these disputes. We simply want this mess sorted out.

"When you look at the number of people who use Harborough Station, it is something affecting thousands of Neil O'Brien's constituents on an increasingly regular basis.

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"We are calling on him and his fellow MPs to take some action to try to resolve these disputes."

And the MP says he too wants a resolve to the situation.

He told the Mail: “Like many railway users, I have been extremely frustrated by the significant disruption caused by the ongoing industrial action on the railways. I am a user of Market Harborough station myself and have been caught up in the fallout caused by the strikes.

“I agree with Harborough Rail Users that a solution must be found to end the strikes, but I also agree with Government that it is not right to agree with union demands for huge government-funded pay increases, especially when many railway staff are already paid far more than others in the public sector.”

Mr O’Brien says the industry received billions in Government support during the pandemic to keep trains running and ensure no employees were furloughed so key workers could keep moving.

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The MP added: “It is extremely disappointing the unions have opted to carry out industrial action precisely at the point at which the railways are beginning to recover.

“Network Rail and the operating companies have made offers of a pay rise to rail workers and this demonstrates it is completely incorrect for the unions to claim pay is being frozen.

“I recognise the significant disruption this causes for railway users in Market Harborough. I am in full support of the Transport Strikes Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament. This Bill will limit the proportion of people who may walk out during transport strikes, meaning a minimum level of service must be guaranteed on the railways.

“The proposals strike the right balance between protecting workers’ right to strike and ensuring railway users can continue to travel.

“I will continue to support all measures which will ensure that railway users locally have the best possible service.”