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East Midlands Chamber News

Restart of MML Electrification Welcomed

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlinTransport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today announced that the electrification of the Midlands Main Line railway will be “un-paused”.

The £1.1bn scheme was paused shortly after the General Election, prompting East Midlands Chamber, the D2N2 and Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnerships, and their public sector partners to lobby the Department of Transport to get the scheme un-paused.

Mr McLoughlin today proposed that line speed and capacity improvement works already underway for the Midland Mainline are added to, with electrification of the line north of Bedford to Kettering and Corby by 2019. But the line north of Kettering to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield will not be completed until 2023.

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber*, said: “While the decision to ‘un-pause’ the electrification of the Midland Main Line is extremely welcome news, the Chamber is still disappointed that it will now not be fully completed until 2023, which is, in effect, a four-year delay in the project.

“The electrification of the Midlands Main Line is critical to the delivery of a modern, cost effective and reliable transport system serving the economy of the East Midlands and its central importance is highlighted by the unified approach taken by business, political and local authority leaders in campaigning to get electrification back on track.

“Today’s decision does provide the certainty which will enable businesses to plan ahead. It’s now crucial that this scheme is delivered as planned, with no further delays.”

Peter Richardson, Chairman of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is excellent news from the Department for Transport and Network Rail, although we would have hoped to see completion of electrification north of Kettering and through our area before 2023. The rail authorities have obviously listened closely to the strong campaign mounted by business, D2N2 and fellow LEPs, the Chamber, local authorities, the Nottingham Post and other media over the unwelcome ‘pausing’ of the Midland Main Line electrification project.

“It is important for business to have this certainty and that there are no further delays in a project which is a key part of the infrastructure we will be relying on to drive forward our plans for the ‘Midlands Engine’.”