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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

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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!

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