Funding - 20 July 2017

Cancelling Midland Main Line electrification is ‘short term’ thinking, says D2N2

D2N2 has expressed disappointment at news today (June 20) that the long proposed electrification of the Midland Main Line train route through its area has been cancelled.

The Department for Transport announced that electrification of the Midland Main Line (MML) would not proceed beyond Kettering, Northamptonshire, on the line. The MML electrification from Kettering to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield had been due to be completed by 2023.

The proposed £1billion-plus scheme in this area had previously been ‘paused’, then ‘unpaused’ by Government – in September 2015, following a joint campaign by D2N2 and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, East Midlands Chamber and public sector partners – with a later date and has now been cancelled altogether.

Instead, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced that ‘bi-mode’ trains (capable of running on electric or diesel power) would eventually run on the MML; reducing Nottingham-Sheffield journey times by up to 20 minutes at peak time and removing the need for “disruptive electrification works between Cardiff and Swansea, Kettering, Nottingham and Sheffield”.

Mr Grayling confirmed today that the London to Kettering section of the MML would be electrified by 2019, and a section between Clay Cross in Derbyshire and Sheffield will be electrified by 2033 to allow HS2 trains to serve the city.

Separately, the Transport Secretary also launched a public consultation on the next East Midlands rail franchise (it is currently delivered by East Midlands Trains), which will run from August 2019.

Today’s news comes only days after Government made final recommendations on its planned route for an HS2 line through D2N2’s area (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire).

Commenting on today’s rail news David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, (PICTURED ABOVE) said: “Whilst we welcome the Government progressing the new East Midlands Rail franchise consultation, its announcement today on Midland Main Line electrification feels like a short term potential fix, rather than a logical and committed transport strategy.

“Electrification north of Kettering remains an integral part of effective connectivity, for both north-south and east-west travel, and will be particularly important in helping maximise economic opportunities available via the planned HS2 interchange at Toton, where ‘traditional rail’ and HS2 trains will align.

“Having a 70 mile gap in electrification between Kettering and Clay Cross makes no long term sense, fails to provide the certainty which businesses need and is likely to fall short in helping realise the investment opportunities linked to HS2.”

For more on today’s MML Government announcement see web link www.gov.uk/government/news/new-improvements-for-rail-passengers-in-wales-the-midlands-and-the-north

Media wanting more information on this article can contact Sean Kirby, D2N2 LEP Communications Manager, on 0115 957 8749 or email: sean.kirby@d2n2lep.org

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