Midland Main Railway Line: Electrification

Department for Transport written question – answered on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bradshaw Lord Bradshaw Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 26 June (HL16302), whether they will publish an estimate of the costs of the decision not to electrify the Midland Main Line to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield; and what is the basis for the estimates of the costs of electrification used in their calculations.

Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

When the decision not to proceed with electrification from Kettering to Sheffield and Nottingham was taken in 2017, approximately £30m had been spent on preliminary works north of Kettering. The majority of this was on bridge improvement works, which will deliver benefits such as improved asset condition irrespective of any electrification. The indicative c.£1.0bn (in 2012/13 prices) cost estimate for electrifying the route from Kettering to Sheffield / Nottingham was developed by Network Rail in 2016, as part of the Midland Main Line enhancements programme.

Thanks to modern technology, we no longer need to electrify every part of every line in order to deliver better journeys. The decision not to continue with electrification from Kettering to Sheffield and Nottingham means that passengers will benefit from new trains sooner and with less disruption, when compared with electrifying the entire line. The upgrade of the Midland Main Line will support better journeys from 2020, including faster journeys in the peak and more seats, with further improvements from 2022 with a fleet of brand new bi-mode trains. Rapid delivery of passenger benefits, whilst minimising impacts on passengers, should always be our priority.

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