A part of the East Midlands rail line into Sheffield, which will be used by High Speed 2 (HS2), will be electrified by 2033, despite a scheme to electrify the whole line being scrapped in a recent announcement by the government.
In a twist to the announcement made by the government last month that it was scrapping the electrification of the East Midland line from north of Kettering to Sheffield and Nottingham, the government has confirmed it will electrify the part of the line which will be shared by HS2 for the phase 2b section.
In the original announcement, transport secretary Chris Grayling said that instead of only electric trains running along the whole section of line, bi-mode – diesel and electric – trains will now run on the line, which switch to diesel power when not on electrified sections.
However, the HS2 trains, which will share the route from north of Clay Cross into Sheffield city centre, are electric only – meaning they would not be able to travel on the line were it not electrified.
The government has now clarified this section of the line will be upgraded in time for the opening of HS2 phase 2b in 2033.
“It’s not scrapping [the project] we’re actually undertaking one of the biggest upgrades of the Midland mainline since it was completed,” said a Department for Transport spokesperson. “Instead of electrification we’re delivering duo electric and diesel trains for passengers to benefit from the services sooner without the need for disruptive work to continue.
“It will not affect the delivery of HS2 and further works will be carried out to ensure that part of the route towards Sheffield is HS2 ready by 2033 and that will include any necessary electrification.”
Sheffield City Region Combined Authority said the government’s move was bittersweet
“Whilst we’re extremely disappointed the government has chosen to discontinue the long-awaited investment in the Midland Mainline from Kettering to Sheffield, we welcome its commitment to electrifying the line from Sheffield as part of HS2,” a Sheffield City Region spokesperson said.
“However, HS2 is not due for completion in Sheffield until 2033, so we will be pushing the case for the construction of HS2 to start from the North. This would bring jobs and economic benefit to Northern areas sooner and revive business confidence in the Northern Powerhouse.”