Plan to electrify rail line is back on track

High Speed Rail. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire SUS-150528-115241001
High Speed Rail. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire SUS-150528-115241001

Electrification of the railway line north of Bedford is back ON.

The Government has announced the line will be electrified from the county town to Kettering and Corby by 2019.

From 2019 to 2023 the line will be electrified up to Sheffield.

The plans, switched off after the General Election, have been zapped back into life as part of Sir Peter Hendy’s work to reset Network Rail’s upgrade programme.

Sir Peter Hendy has outlined to the Secretary of State for Transport how work could continue. The Secretary of State has replied to the Chair of Network Rail asking the organisation to un-pause this work.

The Government views the Midland Mainline as a vital long-distance corridor serving the UK’s industrial heartland. Sir Peter Hendy is proposing that line speed and capacity improvement works already in hand are added to.

Work on Northern and TransPennine rail has also been un-frozen.

The Department for Transport believes the total programme of rail electrification and upgrades will completely transform the railways for passengers in the north and Midlands and help ensure that every part of Britain benefits from a growing economy.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “As a one nation government we are making sure every part of Britain benefits from a growing economy. Connecting up the great cities of the north is at the heart of our plan to build a Northern Powerhouse. This government will see the job through and build a better, faster and more reliable railway for passengers in the north and Midlands.”

Chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy said: “The temporary pause in the programme has given us the space to develop a better plan for passengers. People can expect more services and faster journeys.

“There is more work still to do, but the Secretary of State’s decision means we can now move forward with plans to electrify TransPennine and Midland Mainline”.