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Ideas for railway and service upgrades in Northamptonshire

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thatapanydude

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1) Northamptonshire Powerhouse Railway

Would there be merit and a sufficient case in reopening/building a line from Northampton to just south of Wellingborough station on the MML to create a route linking Northampton, Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby, Stamford and Peterborough following the line of the A43 roughly. I would call this line the "Northamptonshire Powerhouse".

For context there is already a X4 Stagecoach Gold bus linking Northampton and Peterborough together along with a well patronised and often congested route along the A43 from Kettering and A45 from Wellingborough both to Northampton, suggesting there may well be demand for a railway service. In addition there does seem a historic route from Northampton to Wellingborough which could be used as a base line or even some of the Northampton end of the former Bedford line.

As well as linking the Northamptonshire end of the MML to the WCML it does provide new links from the MML to the ECML at Peterborough via a Wing or through a new curve at South Luffenham.

A service such as Northampton - Cotton End/University - Wellingborough - Isham and Burton Latimer - Kettering - Corby - Stamford - Peterborough - March - Wisbech via reversal, I think would be achievable and well patronised for 1 train per hour and possibly 2 with smaller trains.

As part of this scheme, I would as many have suggested swing 1 of the EMR stoppers to Market Harborough but in addition reopen stations at Desborough and Rushden Parkway which EMR could in addition service via a new service to Market Harborough and hopefully Leicester in future.

2) Thameslink Extension to Wellingborough

In addition considering the downgrade I see in the new EMR service making it much more comparable to Thameslink than an Intercity service, could there be a strong case for extending Thameslink to Wellingborough in particular the Bedford to Gatwick Airport services. While Kettering and Corby don't lose out as much as they can still use the Intercity service (Corby via a change) - Wellingborough is the big loser. So a Thameslink extension to Wellingborough would in my eyes negate the need for Wellingborough regulars to drive down to Bedford to catch Thameslink (which many will do post these changes for cheaper fares considering the near parity of service quality). Moreover with let's say proposals to open a station for Rushden Parkway and even a Bedford North Parkway, a short service extension (only 14 miles, 15 mins with a few extra stops) would be very well used to Wellingborough, and not carrying fresh air as an extension to Corby would with it competing with faster EMR services.

To summarise I would like to see a new Northamptonshire Powerhouse Railway linking Northampton to Peterborough (and onto Wisbech is feasible) via Kettering. Opening of Desborough, Isham and Burton Latimer, Rushden Parkway and maybe Bedford North Parkway which could then see one of the EMR stoppers to Corby head to Market Harborough along with a Thameslink extension to Wellingborough.
 
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JonathanH

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In addition considering the downgrade I see in the new EMR service making it much more comparable to Thameslink than an Intercity service, could there be a strong case for extending Thameslink to Wellingborough in particular the Bedford to Gatwick Airport services
No. This service stops at Flitwick, Harlington, Leagrave, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden and St Albans. Why would people from Wellingborough accept a service with that many extra stops formed of class 700s running into the Thameslink core against the proposed 360 service with stops at just Bedford, Luton and Luton Airport Parkway. The 360s are going to receive some internal work for their new role.

So a Thameslink extension to Wellingborough would in my eyes negate the need for Wellingborough regulars to drive down to Bedford to catch Thameslink (which many will do post these changes for cheaper fares considering the near parity of service quality).
It absolutely doesn't follow that there would be cheaper fares to Wellingborough if Thameslink was extended.

Moreover with let's say proposals to open a station for Rushden Parkway and even a Bedford North Parkway, a short service extension (only 14 miles, 15 mins with a few extra stops) would be very well used to Wellingborough
Who says it would be very well used? Let's see how the May timetable changes usage levels first.

There might already be threads about both of your ideas as they have been hot topics recently.
https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...by-kettering-wellingborough-to-london.215166/
https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/thameslink-extension-to-leicester.208538/
https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/entirely-new-railway-lines.215506/#post-5054395
https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...h-for-the-quality-of-service-on-offer.214187/
 
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A0wen

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1) Northamptonshire Powerhouse Railway

Would there be merit and a sufficient case in reopening/building a line from Northampton to just south of Wellingborough station on the MML to create a route linking Northampton, Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby, Stamford and Peterborough following the line of the A43 roughly. I would call this line the "Northamptonshire Powerhouse".

For context there is already a X4 Stagecoach Gold bus linking Northampton and Peterborough together along with a well patronised and often congested route along the A43 from Kettering and A45 from Wellingborough both to Northampton, suggesting there may well be demand for a railway service. In addition there does seem a historic route from Northampton to Wellingborough which could be used as a base line or even some of the Northampton end of the former Bedford line.

As well as linking the Northamptonshire end of the MML to the WCML it does provide new links from the MML to the ECML at Peterborough via a Wing or through a new curve at South Luffenham.

A service such as Northampton - Cotton End/University - Wellingborough - Isham and Burton Latimer - Kettering - Corby - Stamford - Peterborough - March - Wisbech via reversal, I think would be achievable and well patronised for 1 train per hour and possibly 2 with smaller trains.

As part of this scheme, I would as many have suggested swing 1 of the EMR stoppers to Market Harborough but in addition reopen stations at Desborough and Rushden Parkway which EMR could in addition service via a new service to Market Harborough and hopefully Leicester in future.

2) Thameslink Extension to Wellingborough

In addition considering the downgrade I see in the new EMR service making it much more comparable to Thameslink than an Intercity service, could there be a strong case for extending Thameslink to Wellingborough in particular the Bedford to Gatwick Airport services. While Kettering and Corby don't lose out as much as they can still use the Intercity service (Corby via a change) - Wellingborough is the big loser. So a Thameslink extension to Wellingborough would in my eyes negate the need for Wellingborough regulars to drive down to Bedford to catch Thameslink (which many will do post these changes for cheaper fares considering the near parity of service quality). Moreover with let's say proposals to open a station for Rushden Parkway and even a Bedford North Parkway, a short service extension (only 14 miles, 15 mins with a few extra stops) would be very well used to Wellingborough, and not carrying fresh air as an extension to Corby would with it competing with faster EMR services.

To summarise I would like to see a new Northamptonshire Powerhouse Railway linking Northampton to Peterborough (and onto Wisbech is feasible) via Kettering. Opening of Desborough, Isham and Burton Latimer, Rushden Parkway and maybe Bedford North Parkway which could then see one of the EMR stoppers to Corby head to Market Harborough along with a Thameslink extension to Wellingborough.

1 is a non starter. There is no sensible formation to run a new line from Northampton to Wellingboro - the old formation was along the valley floor and prone to flooding. That's before you even start to look at a Business Case.

2 - no chance. And you don't need to drive to Bedford to get cheaper fares, you simply split tickets, which I've done several times. Driving from Wellingborough to Bedford is slow, so it adds at least 30 mins to a journey, that's assuming you can find somewhere to park. Anyone from Wellingborough bothered by the fare levels at Wellingboro is more likely to drive to Northampton, MK Central or even Luton Airport Parkway.

And all your suggestion does is screw up EMRs timetable i.e. sending a Corby to Market Harboro - can a train reverse at MH ? What about the fact the unit will have to sit around out the way until it runs back without getting in the way of other, faster, services.

And please don't go peddling the madness that is the Welland Valley Rail proposal to link Kettering to Wisbech. It's completely nuts, doesn't solve any problems and creates quite a few. The Welland Valley proposal really does give rail enthusiasts a bad name.
 

Dr Hoo

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Arguably Corby is the standard-bearer for the 'Northamptonshire Powerhouse'. Its population has grown by around 1,000 per year for around 20 years with massive housing development supported largely on the prospect of reasonably frequent and regular through services to London, electrified and in association with re-instated extra tracks and platform lengthening. The new service pattern (both to Corby and the MML more generally) starts next month.

How about we leave it to settle down for a couple of years, see how it interacts with Thameslink, how Market Harborough's revised service settles down and so forth?
 

squizzler

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Would there be merit and a sufficient case in reopening/building a line from Northampton to just south of Wellingborough station on the MML to create a route linking Northampton, Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby, Stamford and Peterborough following the line of the A43 roughly. I would call this line the "Northamptonshire Powerhouse".
Not ambitious enough. The England Economic Heartlands strategy floated an idea for a Northern Arc - here is the thread - (Central Arc being East-West Rail) which would create a brand new mainline between the Chiltern Mainline somewhere around Banbury and East Coast Mainline near Peterborough, running via Northampton. That would be a true strategic link, and as well as its obvious facilitation of new intercity routes would perhaps have huge benefits for freight heading from the South Coast to the Northeast with Dirft near its midpoint.
 

A0wen

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Not ambitious enough. The England Economic Heartlands strategy floated an idea for a Northern Arc - here is the thread - (Central Arc being East-West Rail) which would create a brand new mainline between the Chiltern Mainline somewhere around Banbury and East Coast Mainline near Peterborough, running via Northampton. That would be a true strategic link, and as well as its obvious facilitation of new intercity routes would perhaps have huge benefits for freight heading from the South Coast to the Northeast with Dirft near its midpoint.

And is still unviable.

Plus, you can't magically create a rail formation where the geography doesn't allow it. Their "Northern Arc" proposal would make the cost of building HS2 seem like small change and unlike HS2 it doesn't have a viable benefits case.
 
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