ICE East Midlands has welcomed transport secretary Justine Greening’s announcement that funding will be made available for the electrification of the Midland Mainline between Bedford and Sheffield but urged the government to ensure the plans are carried out in full.
The announcement was made last week as part of the government’s announcement of £9.4bn of funding for rail improvements on 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 allows more frequent services, but it will also reduce carbon emissions (electric traction produces fewer carbon emissions than diesel traction).
Carbon emissions can be reduced further when electricity is produced from low carbon sources.
“This is positive news for passengers across the region,” said ICE East Midlands regional director Malcolm Jackson.
“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,” he added.
The ICE East Midlands argues 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.
Specific projects needed are improvements to the track layout in Derby; realignment of the track at Market Harborough and rebuilding of the station to meet access requirements; and a freight flyover in Leicester to allow for an increase in the freight capacity on the line and to reduce bottlenecks.