Opinion: Reopening rail line could cut Northampton to Leicester journey time from 90 to under 35 minutes

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Funding is being called to complete an interim 2020 Network Rail feasibility study on reopening the Northampton to Market Harborough railway line.

We are all familiar with the difficulties travelling between Northampton and Leicester using the M1. Congestion at all stages is a frequent problem. The population of Northamptonshire has considerably grown since the railway line was closed in 1981. Northamptonshire has the highest population growth of the UK and amongst the poorest rail access.

'Restoring this rail line would transform commuting between Northampton and Leicester' says Mr Richard Pill, CEO of the English Regional Transport Association. (ERTA).

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The present railway timetable from Northampton to Leicester takes around 90 minutes depending on where you change trains. A 'Network Rail 2020 interim study obtained under the Freedom of Information Act demonstrated that a journey time under 35 minutes is realistic. Leicester to Market Harborough is timetabled 14 minutes. Reopening the 14-mile Northampton to Market Harborough, with 2 station calls could take another 17.5 minutes.

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The reopened railway line would significantly address transport exclusion in North Northamptonshire and South Leicestershire. A journey time under 35 minutes between Northampton and Leicester, potentially makes commuting by rail highly attractive.

Completing this study takes one year. Should the study demonstrate a clear economic case it could then be taken forward through the Rail Reopening Scheme. The English Regional Transport Association (ERTA) held a successful public meeting in Market Harborough in March.’ A public meeting is planned for the 30th September at Quaker House, Northampton details via https://ertarail.co.uk/events/