Thursday, June 25, 2015

Government delays electrification of the Midland main line

So the Northern Powerhouse did not survive for even two months after the general election.

The electrification of the Trans-Pennine railway line between Leeds and Manchester has been put on hold.

So too has the electrification of the Midland main line between Bedford and Sheffield.

Much work towards this has already taken place. The photograph above shows a bridge at Kibworth being raised and the one below shows the Network Rail track measurement train, which has been frequently seen on the line in recent months.

Chris Hobson from the East Midlands Chamber told the Leicester Mercury:
"The Chamber is extremely disappointed and frustrated that the electrification of the Midlands Main Line will not go ahead as planned. 
"It is disappointed that the original plans couldn't be delivered on time or budget and frustrated that this key project isn't being given the prioritisation that the success of the region demands. 
"The Transport Secretary, whose constituency is in the East Midlands, has said, however, that the project is still part of his plans. The Government must now clarify exactly when it will be delivered. 
"The evidence in favour of upgrading this route is compelling. It will significantly reduce travel times between the East Midlands and London, unlocking potential economic benefits of around £200m for the region. 
"For the past two decades, there has been huge investment in other routes, yet the Midland Main Line has been starved of investment, in spite of the fact that the route connects to London one of the fastest-growing areas in England, which has generated much of the economic growth needed to drive the UK's economy away from recession and created more jobs than any other region. 
"The Chancellor was in the region only a few weeks ago describing it as the UK's 'Engine for Growth'. Infrastructure is a driver of that engine and to have this key project shunted back into the sidings is a grave concern."
Here in Market Harborough we want to know how this 'pause' will effect the promised improvement of access to our station.

As electrification will involve some degree of track straightening through the station, we have to presume that nothing will happen until the electrification work is resumed.

Meanwhile HS2, which involves massive capital investment in London, will go ahead.

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