Electrified lines

Bridge upgrades to support an electrified Midland Main Line

Key upgrade works have been conducted on Pipewell Road Bridge near Kettering this past weekend, between Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September. These will afford this section of the Midland Main Line cleaner and quieter electric trains to be introduced in future.

These works come as part of the great electrification project between Kettering and Wigston, under the banner of the wider Midland Main Line Upgrade with aims to decarbonise the route through the future introduction of new overhead power lines.

Gary Walsh, East Midlands Route Director at Network Rail, said:

“The new bridge is necessary to prepare for the next phases of electrifying the Midland Main Line, which will bring cleaner and more reliable journeys between London and important urban centres such as Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, and Sheffield.

“I’d like to thank our industry partners, passengers and the community for their support, and remind people to check before they travel this weekend.”

To introduce the new overhead line equipment, the bridge must be raised due to being too low currently. Works began in late June in preparation for the central arc of the bridge to be replaced, with this coming weekends works representing a major milestone for the project.

Following these works, construction of the optimised bridge will continue through installation of the deck, carriageway, and safety barrier, culminating in its December completion. The bridge is vital to carry road traffic over the Midland Main Line, so this staggered approach to construction allows there to be minimal disruptions caused.

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director for EMR, said:

“We are asking any customers travelling this weekend to plan ahead and allow plenty of time for their journeys. 

“We have a reduced train service operating on both our Intercity route and our Connect route, as well as some rail replacement buses between Kettering and Market Harborough, Market Harborough, and Leicester. Full details can be found on the EMR website. 

“We would like to thank our passengers for their patience whilst the engineering work along the Midland Main Line is taking place.”

As the UK strives to achieve net-zero by 2050, the electrification of the nation's rail lines will aid greatly in this ambition by decarbonising a major form of public transport, whilst also preparing for a modal shift for freight rail haulage. 

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