‘Unpausing’ Midland Main Line electrification cost nearly £40m

The cost of ‘unpausing’ the Midland Main Line electrification programme for Network Rail could be as much as £40m, rail minister Paul Maynard has said.

Answering a written question from Lilian Greenwood MP, the former shadow transport secretary, Maynard said Network Rail had estimated the cost of the ‘unpausing’ as £29.5m - £39.5m.

The programme was initially due to have electric trains running on parts of the line by 2017, but was ‘paused’ as part of Sir Peter Hendy’s efforts to stop the CP5 enhancements programme from going over budget. The then transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin gave orders for the programme to be ‘unpaused’ last September.

In his answer, Maynard also said that the Midland Main Line Programme will receive funding from the Passenger Journey Improvement Time Fund (PJIF) as part of the Hendy Review.

This will include £49.2m from the Derby to Sheffield PJIF, £27m from the Market Harborough PJIF, and £8m from the Leicester South PJIF.

Separately, Maynard was also asked by SNP MP Drew Hendry whether he would try to tackle the issue of split ticketing, where it is cheaper for passengers to buy two tickets for different stages of the journey.

The minister replied: “Apparent anomalies in pricing that may be experienced on long-distance routes like London to Scotland, can sometimes be a result of competition on the railways encouraging one operator to reduce prices when competing with others on the route. Price competition on the railways can be positive for passengers.

“The department would need to consider very carefully any action that removed this incentive for operators.”

When asked about the beleaguered Govia Thameslink Railway franchise, Maynard admitted it was “unlikely” that the department would let such a large franchise again.

“However, I believe that with the measures recently announced this franchise should deliver a better passenger experience in the future,” he added.

He also repeated his commitment to meet with the Rail Delivery Group to discuss simplifying the information provided to passengers about fares.

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Andrew Gwilt   14/09/2016 at 20:14

So is Midland Main Line going to be electrified if it gets the go ahead or will it be scrapped. If it does get the go ahead then the Midland Main Line will be a fully electrified railway line north of Bedford to Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Sheffield and most parts of East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds (with the Transpennine routes also to be electrified between Leeds-Manchester and Leeds-Hull/York).

Chris   14/09/2016 at 20:45

Midland Mainline electrification *has* been given the go-ahead, hence the cost of 'unpausing' it.

Boris   15/09/2016 at 00:12

Yep. Would be nice if you could read even the headline for once, Andrew.

Chris M   15/09/2016 at 03:01

To be fair, this time Andrew hasn't unveiled lengthy lists of rolling stock types copied from Wikipedia, nor listed every possible train manufacturer who might wish to build..err.. trains. Strangely enough... I agree it should be blindingly obvious that the MML is going to be electrified - eventually! The real $64,000 question is just how long will it take? It is a short and self-contained route, so by rights it should be as easy as they come.

Noam Bleicher   15/09/2016 at 11:30

Chris, it will be dead easy if customers are willing to tolerate long blockades. The more intensive service you want to run during the work, the longer it will take. I for one can't wait for MML wires, not because I use it but because it offers the opportunity to cascade EMT Meridians to XC, allowing XC to run double sets, giving a big jump in capacity.

Steveb   16/09/2016 at 14:38

The Government response to split ticketing is rubbish. It's nothing to do with competition. There's no competition on the Reading-Banbury-Birmingham route, yet a peak day return to Birmingham can be more than halved by buying separate tickets between Reading-Banbury and Banbury-Birmingham since all through trains are scheduled to stop there. This is only opne of many such examples.

Andrew Gwilt   16/09/2016 at 16:19

Did I confuse you Boris. Tough get used to what I said. In fact don't judge me ok Boris.

Andrew Gwilt   16/09/2016 at 16:21

Well for a fact that Bombardier or Stadler or Hitachi could be bidding to win the contract to build new Bi-Mode and Electric trains for EMT once the MML electrification is completed.

Chris M   17/09/2016 at 03:31

It would be a very silly state of affairs if those three manufacturers waited for the MML electrification to be completed before making a bid. What makes you think that Alstom, Siemens & CAF won't be interested in bidding?

Andrew Gwilt   17/09/2016 at 11:47

Alstom, Siemens and CAF could also bid to win the contract to build new trains for East Midlands. Siemens are currently working on building the Class 700, Class 707 and Class 717 Desiro City trains and CAF are to build new trains for Northern England such as Class 195, Class 331 and Class 397 to replace the older trains (including the Class 142, Class 143 and Class 144 Pacers) and to cascade resent trains (Class 350/4 & Class 185) to be used on other duties.

Nonsuchmike   17/09/2016 at 12:20

My information is that there are also big problems on the WCML and replacing/improving/augmenting overhead wires and gantries caused in part by not knowing where the buried wires, culverts and other utilities are as well as in part by the fact that in many places the original gantries are too far apart and implementing the correct spacing would mean additional costs as banking, piling and supporting generally will cost a small fortune to rectify. Sounds to me like a typical example of penny pinching in the past has opened up a can of worms for us in this century. If re-dualling of track where it has been reduced in the past to single line working is included in this MML electrification, then that is money well spent, as if nothing else it offers an alternative route to the north and also improvements to most intermediate routes cross country in the midlands/east/north midlands areas. Must agree that the Government's reply to the idiosyncratic pricing of some tickets argument is totally specious.

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