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Rail electrification work on TransPennine and Midland Mainline resumes

30 September 2015  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Under plans announced on 30 September 2015, rail electrification work will restart on TransPennine and Midland Mainline routes as part of a plan to re-establish Network Rail’s upgrade programme.

Rail electrification work on TransPennine and Midland Mainline resumes

In a letter to Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, Chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy outlined plans on how rail electrification work on TransPennine and Midland Mainline could continue under Network Rail’s upgrade programme. Responding to the proposal, Patrick McLoughlin replied to the Chair asking Network Rail to un-pause this work.

Network Rail will work with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Rail North to develop a new plan for electrification of the TransPennine line between Stalybridge and Leeds and on to York and Selby. This is an improvement on the previous plan which only changed the power supply of the trains.

The new plan will deliver faster journey times and significantly more capacity between Manchester, Leeds and York. The upgrade is expected to provide capacity for 6 fast or semi-fast trains per hour, take up to 15 minutes off today’s journey time between Manchester and York and be complete by 2022. When the work is finished, the whole route from Liverpool to Newcastle (via Manchester, Leeds and York) will be fully electrified and journey times will be significantly reduced compared to today’s railway.

Rail electrification expected to reduce journey times between Manchester and York by 15 minutes

Network Rail will also recommence work to electrify Midland Mainline. Sir Peter Hendy proposes line speed and capacity improvement works already in hand are added to, with electrification of the line north of Bedford to Kettering and Corby by 2019 and the line North of Kettering to Leicester, Derby/Nottingham and Sheffield by 2023.

Rail electrification

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “As a one nation government we are making sure every part of Britain benefits from a growing economy. Connecting up the great cities of the north is at the heart of our plan to build a Northern Powerhouse. This government will see the job through and build a better, faster and more reliable railway for passengers in the north and Midlands.”

Chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy said: “The temporary pause in the programme has given us the space to develop a better plan for passengers. People can expect more services and faster journeys. We face some difficult challenges, and there is more work still to do, but the Secretary of State’s decision means we can now move forward with our plans to electrify TransPennine and Midland Mainline.”

Rail electrification

Commenting on the announcement, the Rail Delivery Group said: “The railway is crucial to Britain’s prosperity, connecting people with jobs, friends and family so it is important to have continued and sustained investment in it.

“With ever more people being attracted to travel by train it is good news that work to bring faster, more reliable and greener journeys to passengers in the north and on the Midland mainline is to be restarted.” 


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