Spades into the ground as government delivers on rail investment pledge for the North and Midlands


  • work begins on rail projects to reduce travel times between cities such as Sheffield, Leicester, Chesterfield, Nottingham and London and between Leeds and Manchester
  • as part of the integrated rail plan, rail routes will be transformed across the north and midlands, creating a suburban culture to rival that of london and the south east
  • plan backed by the biggest government investment ever in rail – £ 96bn to create high-speed lines, upgrade existing lines and roll out Oyster-style pay-per-view tickets

Just a month after the announcement of a £ 96bn rail investment for the North and Midlands, work on the integrated rail plan is already starting with the launch of the next stage of electrification of the main line of Midland.

Major electrification work on the Midland Main Line between Kettering and Market Harborough will begin on December 24, 2021, laying the groundwork for the planned line upgrade to Sheffield and Nottingham and setting the stage for quieter trains, more decarbonisation, better connectivity and more local services across the region.

Today (December 21, 2021), during a visit to the Leicester Hub of Network Rail SPL contractors, the Transport Secretary saw cabling gantries being built for the Midland Mainline and met with staff to mark the launch of the largest government investment program ever for the North. and Midlands, which will boost opportunities and support job creation in the regions.

The Integrated Rail Plan is the model of the government’s commitment to build better transport links, generating prosperity and opportunity in the North and Midlands up to 15 years ahead of schedule, while ensuring the leveling of the country.

Christmas and New Year’s works between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge will speed up the electrification and re-signaling of the railway and renew the track, which is a critical step in the upgrade of the Trans-Pennine Highway (TRU). This will pave the way for faster, more frequent and more reliable trains for Greater Manchester passengers.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Last month I promised that we would continue to deliver the integrated rail plan by Christmas and that is exactly what we are doing.

Today marks the start of a transformation of train journeys for the Midlands and the North, where we will reduce journey times and build better connections between towns, cities and everywhere in between.

According to our plans, people won’t have to wait 20 years for better service. This unprecedented investment will deliver better railways sooner.

As the first part of Northern Powerhouse Rail, TRU transform the railroad between York and Manchester, offering more reliable and comfortable services while reducing journey times between 2 of the northern economic powers – Manchester and Leeds – first to 41 minutes and then finally to 33 minutes. complete electrification of TRU will also increase network capacity by over 90%.

The integrated rail plan will cut journey times from Chesterfield to London to 76 minutes, Derby to London to 58 minutes and Nottingham to London to 57 minutes. Passengers will also see services and capacity almost double, making train travel more convenient and comfortable.

It will also offer more seats, more frequent services and shorter journey times, and will ensure that the benefits are not only for those traveling between centers of larger cities, but also between smaller towns and communities across the country. North and Midlands.

It is committed to 3 new high-speed lines including the construction of HS2 from Crewe to Manchester, a new high-speed line between Birmingham and East Midlands Parkway, and a new high-speed line between Warrington, Manchester and Yorkshire.

It is also providing £ 360million to roll out a fares, ticketing and retail reform program, including the rollout of a la carte contactless ticketing at 700 stations in urban areas, of which around 400 are in urban areas. the North.

The government will also endeavor to deploy digital ticketing throughout the network.

Silviya Barrett, Policy and Research Manager at Campaign for Better Transport, said:

This is good news for passengers who will benefit from faster journeys and better connections, but also good news for the planet. Further electrifying the railroad is essential to help make one of our greenest forms of transportation even greener.

Maria Machancoses, CEO of Midlands Connect, said:

It’s great to see the government implementing the integrated rail plan so quickly after the report was released. The extension of the electrification of the Midland Mainline is an early Christmas present for the region and is the first step in giving the East Midlands the transport infrastructure it deserves.

Our job now is to build the infrastructure that surrounds it with HS2 trains arriving in Derby and Nottingham via East Midlands Parkway and our flagship project, the Midlands Rail Hub, are also progressing well.

Today’s news is testament to the local councils, businesses and MPs who have successfully advocated for improvements to the Midland Mainline for years and the Department of Transportation for working with us. Today is a good day for the Midlands as the pikes start to dig into the ground.

Paul McKeown, Director of Investments for the Eastern Region of Network Rail, added:

We are pleased to welcome the Secretary of State to Leicester. This next phase of electrification will bring real benefits to the passengers and the communities we serve in the East Midlands. Crews will work throughout Christmas to install equipment that will carry power lines as far north as Market Harborough.


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