The DFT has confirmed that Leicestershire is to be included in the electrification of the Midland Main Line. Rail Minister, Andrew Jones has confirmed that Network Rail has been instructed to extend the electrification from Kettering to Market Harborough station. This extension means that bi-mode trains will be able to run on the line and so, the connection is believed to offer value for money.
For many months, cases have been put forward for this electrification extension to take place and now that they have agreed, it is a move forward in the right direction, with detailed designs being drawn up. If the electrification is successful, it will mean that trains are quieter are more eco-friendly as diesel trains will not be stopping and starting from Harborough. There will also be an improvement in journey times and so, the electrification will bring with it many benefits.
There have been calls form politicians requesting that Chris Grayling overturns the decision to stop electrification at Kettering from the beginning because they felt that it would put the East Midlands at a disadvantage. Currently, millions of pounds have been spent on adapting railway bridges throughout Leicestershire to ensure that they can accommodate the overhead cabling that is used to provide electrification.
The announcement was welcomed by the Railway Industry Association where they believe that the decision proves just how important it is for electrification to offer an optimal solution for those railways that are used intensively.
The Director of Midlands Connect has said that extending the electrification of the Midland Main Line from Kettering and into the national grid supply point at Market Harborough is a move in the right direction as it provides the East Midlands with the rail infrastructure that it desperately needs.
Following this, there will also be steps taken to extend electrification to Leicester, Toton and Nottingham in order to help support Midlands Connect’s target of direct conventional compatible HS2 service between Leicester and Leeds as well as Leeds and Nottingham via Toton.
Based on the current plan, there will be an additional 85 miles of electrified line that will be quiet and cleaner. There will be 65 miles where diesel operates and then a move back to electricity for 22 miles north of Alfreton where HS2 will come in to support Chesterfield and Sheffield.