Market Harborough railway station

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Market Harborough National Rail
The Grade II listed station building from 1884 by John William Livock
Place Market Harborough
Local authority District of Harborough
Coordinates 52°28′48″N 0°54′34″W / 52.48°N 0.9094°W / 52.48; -0.9094Coordinates: 52°28′48″N 0°54′34″W / 52.48°N 0.9094°W / 52.48; -0.9094
Grid reference SP741874
Station code MHR
Managed by East Midlands Trains
Number of platforms 2
DfT category C2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2011/12 Increase 0.746 million
2012/13 Increase 0.765 million
2013/14 Increase 0.798 million
2014/15 Increase 0.832 million
2015/16 Increase 0.870 million
Key dates Opened 1 May 1850 (1 May 1850)
Listed status
Listed feature Market Harborough Railway Station
Listing grade Grade II listed
Entry number 1074404[1]
Added to list 25 March 1975
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Market Harborough from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal
Market Harborough Station in 1957

Market Harborough railway station is a Grade II listed[1] station which serves the town of Market Harborough in Leicestershire, England. It is situated to the east of the town centre and lies on the Midland Main Line, 16 miles (26 km) south-east of Leicester.


The original station was opened on 1 May 1850[2] by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) on its line between Stamford to Rugby and thence to Euston. The Midland Railway shared it from 1857 when it built its extension from Leicester to Bedford and Hitchin. On 16 February 1859 the branch line to Northampton opened.[3]

The station was the scene of a serious accident on 28 August 1862.[4] An excursion train bound for Burton-upon-Trent stopped to pick up water, and a second train bound for Leicester collided with the rear of it. The accident resulted in the death of one person and seventy were injured.

As traffic built up, the Midland opened a new line on 26 June 1885 at a higher elevation, crossing the LNWR and then running parallel to a new joint station in the present position.

The new station building was opened on 14 September 1884.[3] It was built by Parnell and Sons of Rugby from designs by John William Livock and Millbank. The engineer was Hirst of Rugby.[5]

Market Harborough was the largest station within the county boundary south of Leicester. Such was the volume of traffic, a junction for five different directions at its height, by 1870 plans for an engine shed were released in addition to the already provided loco pit, turntable and water tank. A shed was never built but this did not stop it becoming a sub-shed of Leicester in later years.

The service on the original LNWR line was drastically reduced in 1960 and it finally closed in June 1966. Freight traffic on the line to Northampton continued until closure in August 1981, when the station ceased to be a junction. The Midland line continues, with the platform buildings and canopies replaced with modern designs in the sixties. The main building survived, however, and was carefully restored in 1981.


A Map of East Midlands Trains InterCity services showing the current service pattern each hour

Market Harborough is served by the fast and semi-fast East Midlands Trains Class 222 "Meridian"/HST services. Trains to London are around every half hour and all off peak trains now start or end at Nottingham. One of these are fast going non-stop to or from London. While the other is a semi-fast service via Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford and Luton Airport Parkway. Services north to Nottingham call at Leicester and either Loughborough and Beeston or East Midlands Parkway. In the morning and evening some services are extended to Lincoln via Newark.[6]

With a journey time to London of just over one hour, the frequency of trains to the capital in the morning and evening peak is excellent for commuting, with a train running (occasionally non stop) every twenty minutes with the quickest journeys taking fifty-five minutes.

Weekend services include trains operating to York and, in the summer, Scarborough.

Bus services depart from outside the station and operate throughout the town and also to both Lutterworth, Hinckley and Leicester.

The initial specification for the East Midlands Trains franchise, which started in 2007, would have seen a big reduction in the number of trains calling at Market Harborough.[7] These plans were fought against by the Harborough Rail Users' Group, and, as a result, the final specification saw no reduction in services.[8]

Stagecoach promised as part of their bid that they would create additional car parking spaces at stations along their route, Market Harborough's new larger car park opened early in 2008.[9]

Market Harborough is a Penalty fare station, meaning that as there are facilities to buy tickets at the station, a valid ticket or Permit to travel must be shown when requested, rather than being able to buy tickets on the train.


Market Harborough station is located on a large curve on the Midland Main Line, as a result of this line speeds through the station have always been relatively slow, at around 60 mph (100 km/h). The track layout is set to change significantly over the next couple of years as Network Rail engineers set about straightening the line, as part of their overall plan to increase overall line speeds, it is planned that both platforms will be extended by up to 106 metres. This work was originally scheduled to be complete by no later than 2012.[10] Work on the re-alignment and speed improvements was postponed and a decision on the solution is due in December 2016 with work complete by March 2019.[11]

The railway through Leicestershire is not electrified therefore all services are operated by diesel trains. This is set to change by 2023 when a scheme to electrify the remainder of the Midland Main Line is to be completed, this along with faster line speeds, means the town will be around 60 minutes from the capital.[12]

Service summary[edit]

Preceding station National Rail Following station
East Midlands Trains
Historical railways
East Langton
Line open, station closed
  Midland Railway
Midland Main Line
  Desborough and Rothwell
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Line and station closed
  London and North Western Railway
Rugby to Peterborough East
  Ashley and Weston
Line and station closed
Clipston and Oxendon
Line and station closed
  London and North Western Railway
Northampton to Nottingham
Line and station closed


  1. ^ a b Historic England, "Market Harborough Railway Station (1074404)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 4 January 2017 
  2. ^ "Market Harborough. The Rugby and Stamford Railway". Northampton Mercury. British Newspaper Archive. 4 May 1850. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Leleux, Robin. A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Volume 9. David & Charles, Newton Abbot. p. 107. ISBN 0715371657. 
  4. ^ "Dreadful accident on the Midland Railway at Market Harborough". Leicestershire Mercury. British Newspaper Archive. 30 August 1862. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Market Harborough. The new railway station". Stamford Mercury. British Newspaper Archive. 19 September 1884. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  6. ^ East Midlands Trains: Timetable 13 December 2009 to 22 May 2010 Accessed 13 March 2010
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2006. Retrieved 15 October 2006. 
  8. ^ Passengers fight back over rail cuts - Harborough Today[dead link]
  9. ^ Extra Car Park Spaces at Market Harborough - East Midlands Trains
  10. ^ "Network Rail CP4 Delivery Plan 2009 Enhancements programme: statement of scope, outputs and milestones" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  11. ^ Peter Hendy (January 2016). Report from Sir Peter Hendy to the Secretary of State for Transport on the replanning of Network Rail’s Investment Programme. Enhancements Delivery Plan Update (PDF) (Report). Network Rail. p. 45. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  12. ^ "Investing in rail, investing in jobs and growth" (Press release). Department for Transport. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 

External links[edit]