Network Rail has announced the dates for a six-day rail closure on the Midland Main Line to allow a major project to improve the route for all customers who use it.
The project will take place at Market Harborough in Leicestershire. Between Tuesday 28 May and Sunday 2 June (inclusive), the section of the Midland Main Line which runs between Kettering and Leicester will be closed.
To allow this work to take place safely, no train services will run on this part of the line. Instead coach replacement services and diversionary routes will be in operation. There will also be an overall reduction of East Midlands Trains services between London St Pancras and Nottingham and between London St Pancras to Derby and Sheffield as services will need to use an alternative route to divert around Market Harborough.
Passengers are strongly urged to check before they travel via the dedicated web page eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/mhr2019.
Network Rail is currently working to install almost two miles of track in a new, straighter alignment as well as new signalling equipment. During the six-day closure, engineers will connect the new straighter track to the existing track, enabling passenger services to run on the new alignment from Monday, 3 June when all train services resume.
This vital work is part of the Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement Project which is a £53 million investment into the railway. Once completed, trains will be to travel through the area at higher speeds.
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “This vital work at Market Harborough will mean changes for all passengers using the Midland Main Line during this time.
“There’s never an ideal time to carry out this type of work and we do appreciate that the work will be disruptive. We are working closely with East Midlands Trains to keep passengers moving and we thank passengers for their patience.
“This project will make sure we can continue to meet the needs of the communities and economies which our railway serves.”
Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains said: “We are working alongside Network Rail to deliver a vastly improved Market Harborough station and by the end of 2019 it will provide lifts and a new footbridge, a significantly larger customer car park, longer platforms for longer trains and straighter track for quicker journeys across the Midland Main Line. “We appreciate that the closure of the station will inconvenience some of our passengers during this time however, the improvement works will make the station more accessible for all our passengers in the future”.
Tom Goshawk, Capital Projects Manager for the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Fast and efficient transport is vital to economic growth. That is why the D2N2 LEP has put £5million of its Local Growth Fund allocation into the Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement Project; funding alongside neighbouring LEPs, Sheffield City Region and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.
“The six-day rail closure will allow vital works as part of this £53m project, enabling trains to travel more quickly along this length of the Midland Main Line, with major improvements also to Market Harborough railway station.”
Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP said: “The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) have contributed £3m of Local Growth Fund towards the station and line improvements at Market Harborough.
“Inevitably major works of this nature cause unavoidable disruption. However, this is just a few days, after which, faster non-stop journey times between London St. Pancras, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield will be possible.
“These important works will lead to better time table capacity and flexibility which is good news for commuters and the shorter travel time to London is a major factor for businesses investing in the region.”