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26 September 2016

Midland Main Line: We must continue to invest in success!

After being paused last year, the project to upgrade and electrification of the Midland Main Line is now well underway – but still far from complete.

Council and business leaders have called for the current momentum to be maintained in the run up the new Chancellor’s first Autumn Statement to ensure this important infrastructure project is not further delayed.

The decision to upgrade and electrify the Midland Main Line was originally made in 2012. However the project was controversially ‘paused’ by the Government last year because of cost pressures within Network Rail, before being re-instated following a review by Sir Peter Hendy – albeit with completion delayed to 2023. Investment in our region’s rail infrastructure is the lowest in the country, and as the Chancellor reviews all major spending as part of the Autumn Statement process, it is essential for local economies that the Midland Main Line is brought up to modern standards as soon as possible.  

Cllr Jon Collins, Vice Chair of East Midlands Councils said:

The Midland Main Line has been a great success story. But for the success to continue, we need the upgrade and electrification project to be delivered in full. The revised programme announced earlier this year following this Sir Peter Hendy’s will mean electrification to Corby by 2019 and for the rest of the East Midlands by 2023 – and we cannot afford any further slippage

Chris Hobson from the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce said:

As well as boosting connectivity between our key towns and cities, the electrification programme is a huge market opportunity for our world class transport engineering sector. The ‘pause’ last year had a negative effect on a number of local businesses. We must continue to press ahead with the investment and deliver the whole scheme by 2023 if we are to maintain business confidence.

End of text.

Notes to Editors

East Midlands Councils is the consultative forum for local authorities in the region. It provides support to Councils to improve their services and is a strong voice for the East Midlands. www.emcouncils.gov.uk

The Midland Mainline runs through the centre of the country; it carries more than 13 million passengers a year. Passenger numbers have increased by 130% over the last 15 years and a further 30% rise is expected in the next 10 years.  The business case remains clear for the upgrade and electrification of Midland Mainline. It would: 

  • Generate over £450 million of economic benefits to the region.
  • Mean a quicker and more reliable service; cutting the journey time between London and Sheffield by up to 15 minutes; meaning quicker services between London, Leicester, Nottingham and Derby.
  • Save the rail industry £60m per annum in running costs.
  • Slash carbon emissions.
  • Improve freight access to our rail network.

The investment is essential if this region is to have a modern, efficient rail system – and is key if we are to widen access to the proposed HS2 network.

Money has already been invested and work is underway with piling and bridge construction preparing the way for new overhead lines.

Contact

For further information please contact:

Andrew Pritchard, Director of Policy & Infrastructure, East Midlands Councils

Tel: 01664 502620  

E-mail: andrew.pritchard@emcouncils.gov.uk     

ENDS. 

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All news releases can be viewed on our website at http://www.emcouncils.gov.uk/Press-releases

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