Market Harborough railway station serves the town of Market Harborough in Leicestershire, England. It lies on the Midland Main Line, 16 miles (26 km) south-east of Leicester and is served by the majority of semi-fast East Midlands Trains Class 222 "Meridian" services, although some faster express services also call during peak times and at weekends. The station is situated to the east of Market Harborough town centre.
Being relatively close to London, 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.
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 original station was built by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) in 1850 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.
As traffic built up, the Midland built a new line at a higher elevation, crossing the LNWR and then running parallel to a new joint station in the present position. The Midland line was quadrupled in 1879 and the new station opened in 1885.
The service on the original LNWR line was drastically reduced in 1960 and finally closed in 1966. 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.
The initial specification for the new East Midlands Trains franchise would have seen a big reduction in the number of trains calling at Market Harborough. These plans were fought against by the Harborough Rail Users' Group, and, as a result, the final specification will see no reduction in services.
Stagecoach have promised as part of their bid that they will create additional car parking spaces at stations along their route, Market Harborough's new larger car park opened early in 2008.
The morning and evening peak periods see additional trains stop, these are generally operated by Inter City 125 (HST) trains. Northbound evening peak trains operate to Sheffield and Leeds. In addition to these, the Meridian services are extended to Burton upon Trent and with the new franchise, services are proposed to continue to Lincoln.