ICE East Midlands welcomes the Transport Secretary’s announcement that funding will be made available for the electrification of the Midland Main Line between Bedford and Sheffield but urges the government to ensure the plans are carried out in full.
The announcement was made today as part of the government’s announcement of £9.4 billion of funding for rail improvements across the UK network.
The plans will directly benefit travellers in the East Midlands allowing for faster journey times from stations served by the line, including: Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Chesterfield when the work is completed.
Electrification will not only speed up journeys, since electric traction offers better acceleration and allow more frequent services but will also reduce carbon emissions (electric traction produces fewer carbon emissions that diesel traction). Carbon emissions can be reduced further when electricity is produced from low carbon sources.
In 2011, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) responded to the government’s consultation into the High Speed 2 network.
The document, High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain's Future, which stated that investment in the new High Speed Rail network must not be the only rail investment over the next 15 years and that other schemes including junction remodelling and electrification must be carried out to ensure the existing rail network meets its present day demands.
ICE East Midlands has previously called for the electrification of the Midland Main Line in its State of the Nation report into the region’s infrastructure in 2010.
ICE East Midlands recognises, however that as well as electrification of the route, improvements must also be carried out to the railway infrastructure to allow for the benefits of faster journey times, particularly:
- Improvements to the track layout in Derby
- Realignment of the track at Market Harborough and rebuilding of the station to meet access requirements (remove step only access on the up platform)
- A freight flyover in Leicester to allow for an increase in the freight capacity on the line and reduce bottlenecks.
Malcolm Jackson, Regional Director ICE East Midlands commented: “This is positive news for passengers across the region.
“ICE East Midlands has long called for improvements to this trunk route between London and the region and the benefits of faster journey times and the opportunity to run more frequent services are to be welcomed.
“We continue to call on the government and Network Rail to ensure that the improvements to the railway infrastructure are carried out in full to maximise the benefits to passengers.”