Midland Mainline to be electrified

 

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The Independent Online

Plans to electrify the Midland Mainline are expected to be announced by the Government next week, according to reports.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening is set to outline a £500m scheme to complete the electrification of the route between Sheffield and London on Monday, the BBC said.

At present the line is only electrified between London's St Pancras station and Bedford.

The move would see the current fleet of inter-city diesel trains replaced with electric ones with overhead wires extended along the rest of the line. It is not yet know if the scheme will include track improvements.

The expected announcement comes after business groups and politicians in South Yorkshire and the East Midlands campaigned for the line to be upgraded.

BBC Radio Derby political reporter Chris Doidge said the Derby-based train-maker Bombardier, which was threatened with closure last year, could benefit from the scheme.

A spokesman for the Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum told the BBC: "If the Midland Mainline is upgraded, the supply chain waits ready to meet the needs of the industry.

"We hope it is not just electrification - there are great benefits to be found in upgrading the current infrastructure."

Councillor Graham Chapman, Nottingham City Council's deputy leader, said the likely announcement was "very timely and welcome news indeed".

He said: "Nottingham's accessible location in the heart of the country would be even more attractive to likely investors and visitors if rail journey speeds to and from London were speeded up.

"This not only requires electrification but improvements to the tracks which we hope is part of the package.

"Councils and businesses in the region have been lobbying government for some time to secure rail journey times of 90 minutes between London and Nottingham.

"Hopefully this now may be achieved in the not too distant future.

"The city is undergoing somewhat of a transformation with new infrastructure being put in place. An extended tram network linking to a redeveloped railway station and 21st Century regional transport hub which has fast trains to the capital gives Nottingham a significant advantage over other destinations.

"We look forward to working with the government and neighbouring towns and cities along the Midland Mainline corridor to ensure the speedy implementation of a faster railway serving the region."

PA

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