Track and signalling


Network Rail to begin ‘crucial’ track straightening work on Midland Main Line

Network Rail engineers are set to complete the first section of a major line speed upgrade in Market Harborough this weekend.

The work will see track straightened, allowing trains to travel through the section more quickly and increasing the overall line speed on the Midland Main Line.

However, due to disruption caused by the upgrades, Network Rail has warned that no trains will call at Market Harborough station on four Sundays between 4 and 25 March, instead replaced by buses.

This is the latest in a programme of work completed between the infrastructure manager and East Midlands Trains, with earlier improvements including new car park and access road developments at the station.

“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,” explained Jake Kelly, managing director of East Midlands Trains.

“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.”

Rob McIntosh, route managing director at Network Rail, added: “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.”

McIntosh went on to thank passengers for their patience while the delays are in place, saying that Network Rail and East Midlands Trains had worked to keep disruption to a minimum.

The Midland Main Line has been the subject of some controversy in recent times, with transport secretary Chris Grayling deciding to cancel electrification north of Kettering.

The secretary of state told the Commons Transport Committee in mid-January that his decision came down to finances, and a lack of value for money provided by the project.

Top image: Network Rail

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Icn   02/03/2018 at 20:02

The railway approaches Market Haborough from the south east and then turns north to pass through the station. Assuming that the station is to remain in largely the same place, I would imagine that the work involves easing the curve in the line so as to pass through the station on a slightly different alignment and so permitting higher speeds. I cannot imagine that the line is to be "straightened".

Huguenot   02/03/2018 at 21:00

The minutes saved by easing the curve at Market Harborough will all be squandered by extended journey times for EMT south of Bedford from May 2018. Key business trains such as 'The Master Cutler' and 'The Robin Hood' will have their net journey times extended by between 8 and 13 minutes from the present timetable merely to accommodate Thameslink's rubbish Class 700s. What's more important, competitive inter-city journey times or pandering to London commuters?

Andrew Gwilt   02/03/2018 at 23:39

At least there is a lot of work to be done to the Midland Main Line. Since the electrification has been postponed and will only see parts of the MML electrified from Bedford to Kettering and Corby in few years.

Mmlred   06/03/2018 at 11:32

Icn, they're pretty much demolishing the existing station and replacing it with a straight platform at a new angle. The only notable part that will remain is the station entrance building. Huguenot - I doubt the Bedford commuters subjected to an hour of "ironing boards" and reduced intercity services to the capital consider themselves "pandered to at this point - wilfully ignored, more like!

Add your comment


rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

16/03/2018Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

Union members working for South Western Railway (SWR) are to go through with a four-day strike running across both bank holidays over the Easter ... more >
NR slapped with £730,000 fine for Gloucester freight derailment

16/03/2018NR slapped with £730,000 fine for Gloucester freight derailment

Network Rail has been ordered to pay £733,000 fines after a court found that its failure to adequately maintain track had caused a freight ... more >
Network Rail sees more than £200m in retail sales in Q4 2017

15/03/2018Network Rail sees more than £200m in retail sales in Q4 2017

Retail sales at Network Rail managed stations grew by 3.5% in the final quarter of 2017, it was revealed today. Between April and December 2017 ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

How can UK rail become a global leader?

06/03/2018How can UK rail become a global leader?

Alison Dervis, EY director, explains why more diverse thinking, innovation and industry collaboration will help deliver transformative change to the railway industry. From late Georgian steam engines, to the multibillion-pound civil engineering projects of modern day, Britain’s railways have a legendary and inspiring tale to tell of... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Smart Ticketing: The way ahead

13/03/2018Smart Ticketing: The way ahead

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), runs through the nationwide progress in rolling out ... more >
A benchmark year for HS2

13/03/2018A benchmark year for HS2

Jim Crawford, managing director of Phase 1 at HS2 Ltd, discusses the many critical activities set to take place this year as the mammoth high-spe... more >
The North has a plan

13/03/2018The North has a plan

There has always been an incredible thirst for change in the north. Now, there is finally a plan robust and forward-thinking enough to make it ha... more >
EWR: Getting it right

13/03/2018EWR: Getting it right

Peter Austin, delivery director at East West Rail Company (EWRco), argues that completing the link between Oxford and Cambridge as quickly as pos... more >

rail industry focus

  • 08/12/2017A game changer for Midland Metro

    The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) updates RTM’s Luana Salles on the latest projects taking place across the growing Midland Metro...
  • 09/11/2017Testing tomorrow's technology today

    David Brazier, site manager and area sales manager for the UK & Ireland at OMICRON electronics, tells RTM’s Luana Salles about the major...
  • 09/11/2017What next for safety?

    As rail businesses edge towards their target of zero injuries, improving safety performance can plateau. Amey’s sector director for rail, Lee...
View all News


Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >