Latest Rail News

04.07.18

Grayling asks HS2 to prepare for electrification of 25km Midland Main Line route

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has decided to include the electrification of the 25km-long HS2 section of the Midland Main Line in the next Hybrid Bill for the high-speed programme.

Following the government’s decision to include a spur into Sheffield via Chesterfield as part of the preferred HS2 route, Grayling has now asked that electrification of this section – from Clay Cross to Sheffield Midland station – be included in the upcoming phase 2 bill.

HS2 Ltd will start its preparatory works with a series of land surveys to further inform the work programme. A consultation on the works required will be undertaken “at a later date,” but prior to any legislation being brought to Parliament.

Neither the DfT nor HS2 Ltd have clarified how this will impact on the costs of the project.

A spokesperson for the high-speed rail programme said: “The benefits that HS2 will deliver are significant and should not be underestimated. The new railway will play a crucial role in rebalancing Britain’s economy; driving business growth, creating jobs and securing investment right across the country.

“Ensuring the Midland Main Line is electrified between Clay Cross and Sheffield Midland Station will enable Chesterfield and the wider Sheffield City Region to benefit from direct services on the new high-speed trains.”

Today’s news comes after lingering doubt and unprecedented delays in the scheme. Earlier this year, the transport secretary argued that there was “no obvious passenger benefits” to this electrification plan, especially in light of the difficulties faced during its implementation – which forced the government to ‘pause’ the project for months, albeit at a cost. In July last year, Grayling had decided to cancel plans to electrify the line north of Kettering.

Last month, MPs in the Transport Committee called on the government to reinstate the cancelled electrification schemes by putting them on the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline for further development and design work. In a poll of over 400 RTM readers, 86% of respondents agreed with the approach, arguing that the projects should never have been cancelled in the first place.

Top image: c. Dominic Lipinski, PA Wire

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