Midlands Connect News

18 Sep 2020

Midland Main Line: Government announces potential breakthrough on electrification

Midlands Connect Director Maria Machancoses has welcomed news that the government is for the first time in 3 years looking again at electrifying the Midland Main Line.

 Maria called the news a ‘massive boost for the region’ and a key step towards a ‘Midlands rail revolution’ allowing us to be better connected whilst decarbonising the network sooner.

In the House of Commons yesterday, for the first time, the Government stated to Nottingham North MP Alex Morris MP that: “Further electrification of the midland main line is currently at an early stage, but it is being examined by Network Rail.”

The plan to electrify the route was shelved in 2017 and instead electrification was currently planned go as far as Market Harborough, and ‘bi-mode’ trains will run on electricity for part of the route before switching to less green diesel.

Midlands Connect has worked with local businesses, The East Midlands Chamber and local MPs to continue to make the case for this critical part of national infrastructure.

Commenting, Midlands Connect Director Maria Machancoses said:

“I’m cautiously optimistic but this could be a massive boost for the region.

“We are currently talking to Government to give us the green light and jump aboard the Midlands Rail revolution. For the upcoming Budget, Midlands Connect are proposing a package of proposals that could really put turbochargers on the Midlands Engine. My message to government is back a package of schemes that could place the Midlands at the vanguard of the UK’s transition to a better connected, decarbonised and rebalanced economy.

“There are still lots of hard work to be done, including finding a way to electrify under the low bridge at Leicester station, but I welcome the news that Network Rail is being allowed to un-pause its design work.”

Ends

Contact Information

Notes to editors

Notes to editors - The contribution made in the House of Commons yesterday can be found on Hansard here: https://bit.ly/33IGrTX

Alex Norris MP (Nottingham North) (Lab/Co-op) “Just before the general election, the Prime Minister committed to electrification of the entire midland main line, but since then we have seen no such commitment from the Department. Will the Secretary of State take this opportunity to reassert that commitment, or was that just another broken promise to the east midlands?” [906168]

Andrew Stephenson MP “As the hon. Gentleman will know, we are currently delivering the midland main line upgrade, which includes electrification from London to Kettering, with additional electrification to Market Harborough being developed. Further electrification of the midland main line is currently at an early stage, but it is being examined by Network Rail. The Department will continue to work closely with Network Rail on the development of a proposal for this, including approaches to advancing the delivery of electrification across the route.”

About Midlands Connect

Midlands Connect is the transport partner of the Midlands Engine, and the Midlands’ Sub-national Transport Body.

Midlands Connect researches, develops and champions long-term transport projects which will provide the biggest possible economic, social and environmental benefits for the Midlands and the rest of the UK.

We examine every option for improving major transport infrastructure in our region. The fundamental aim of these improvements is to transform regional and UK gateways, bringing the Midlands closer together and accelerating cost-effective improvements to unlock east-west connectivity that will enable the Midlands’ economies to work more effectively together.

Our 25-year transport strategy for the region has the potential to add £5 billion a year to the UK economy, contributing to the Midlands Engine vision of creating 300,000 additional jobs by 2030 and growing the economy by £54 billion.

Our partnership is made up of 22 local authorities, nine Local Enterprise Partnerships, East Midlands and Birmingham airports, and chambers of commerce stretching from the Welsh border to the Lincolnshire coast. The partnership also includes the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Highways England and HS2 Ltd, who we work alongside to drive an unprecedented level of collaboration for the good of the Midlands and the UK.

The Midlands Connect Strategy, as well as its latest reports, can be downloaded here: https://www.midlandsconnect.uk/publications/

The Midlands Engine Vision for Growth can be downloaded here: https://www.midlandsengine.org/wp-content/uploads/Midlands-Engine-Vision-for-Growth.pdf