East Midlands will have faster, more reliable and more comfortable train journeys after full electrification of the Midland Main Line was included in a £9bn programme of rail investment unveiled by Transport Secretary Justine Greening today, saYs Tory MP Pauline Latham OBE.
Electrification of the Midland Main Line, currently limited to the route between London St Pancras and Bedford, will now be extended to Kettering, Corby, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield. Coupled with track improvements, electrification will transform the rail route between London, the East Midlands and Yorkshire, offering reduced journey times, improved reliability and new trains.
The region will also benefit from the new “electric spine” - a high capacity electric rail freight route connecting the East Midlands with Southampton, making it more attractive for firms to locate in the East Midlands and getting more freight off the roads.
Mrs Latham said: “This is brilliant news for businesses and commuters alike. It will really benefit the economy of the area, and fuel growth.
“The ‘Electric Spine’ will make a huge difference for passengers, connecting London, the Midlands and Yorkshire in a much more efficient rail line, and linking the South and North more effectively than ever before.”
Transport Secretary, Justine Greening said: “Full electrification of the Midland Main Line and additional upgrades to the line show how this coalition government is focused on delivering an affordable, reliable and fast-moving railway network that drives jobs and growth in Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Corby and Kettering.
“These plans to increase capacity and shorten journey times on intercity, commuter and freight services are absolutely key to securing prosperity in the East Midlands in the decades ahead.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “From Crossrail, high speed rail and now the billions of pounds of investment we are announcing today, this government is committed to taking the long term decisions to deliver growth and jobs.
“In what is the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era this investment will mean faster journeys, more seats, better access to stations, greater freight links and a truly world class rail network.”
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said: “This is the biggest expansion in railways in over 150 years, with more than £9bn of investment across the country.
“Whilst we inherited a deficit greater than any in our nation’s peacetime history, we knew that we had to give the country the boost it needs, to build great railways and make journeys better for the millions of hard working people who use the train every day.
“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, the opportunity to dramatically expand rail, a greener form of transport than aviation or road is very exciting indeed. This investment will help people to choose trains over cars, reduce carbon emissions and provide a rail system that is faster, more reliable and greener.”
Midland Main Line upgrades include additional capacity between Bedford and Corby, improved track layouts on the Midland Main Line to reduce journey times and sufficient additional peak passenger capacity at Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield to meet forecast demand for 2019.
The improvements will be delivered under the Government’s High Level Output Specification (HLOS) for the railways for 2014-19, which has been published today. The rail industry will now carry out further work to determine the scope of works required and the likely start and completion dates of the schemes. It will publish its plans in January 2013.