Northampton to Market Harborough Train Line

Recently I have received a great deal of letters from constituents about the Northampton to Market Harborough train line.

Currently, as Rail Minister, I am not aware of any plans to re-open this line; this is not a scheme that is currently being considered for funding through The Department for Transport’s (DfT) development pipeline.

The old line is currently used as a cycle path (the Brampton Valley Way), and is I believe part of the Sustrans network. There is a heritage railway on part of the old line as well. It is well used by cyclists and walkers alike.

Since the route was closed there has been housing and retail development at the Market Harborough end that may well be a barrier to any re-opening of the line in terms of connection to the Midland Main Line at Market Harborough.

It would also be necessary to consider how valuable track capacity on the busy two section Midland Main Line could accommodate any additional services (and on the West Coast Main Line at Northampton). This would necessitate study work to assess feasibility and value for money. Local stakeholders could seek to develop the proposal with Network Rail and DfT but I have asked my officials if they have and we are not aware of any proposals to develop. Any proposal would also need to consider necessary planning approvals and there are no plans for this either.

So both in practical terms and in operational terms there are no concrete proposals and they would take years to develop and bring forward - and would need the active support of local residents to get through the planning process locally.