As part of the Government’s commitment to improving connectivity in the Midlands and the North work has begun on the next stage of the Midland Mainline electrification.
The work forms part of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which was announced last month and will see £96bn of rail investment for the North and Midlands.
Work will commence on the 24th December to electrify the line between Kettering and Market Harborough.
Whilst visiting the Leicester hub of Network Rail contractors SPL Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saw wiring gantries being built for the Midland Mainline.
The IRP will help deliver more opportunities across the North and Midlands up to 15 years sooner that previously planned whilst also levelling up the country.
The work will slash journey times between towns and cities like Sheffield, Leicester, Chesterfield, Nottingham and London and between Leeds and Manchester.
Work is also set to take place over Christmas and New Year between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.
This will speed up electrification and resignalling of the railway and renew the track which forms a key part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).
This work will help provide more frequent and reliable trains to passengers in Greater Manchester.
The TRU forms the first part of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse Rail plans and will transform journeys between York and Manchester.
Speaking on the planned improvements Mr Shapps said: “Last month, I promised we would get on with delivering the Integrated Rail Plan by Christmas and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
“Today marks the beginning of a transformation of rail journeys for the Midlands and the North.
“We will slash journey times and build better connections between towns, cities and everywhere in between.
“Under our plans, people won’t have to wait 2 decades for better services.
“This unprecedented investment will deliver better railways sooner.”
The Government’s IRP will deliver huge benefits for those travelling between cities, towns and communities across the North and Midlands.
Midlands Connect commented on the commencement of work from the Government’s IRP.
Maria Machancoses, Chief Executive Officer of Midlands Connect said: “It is great to see the government putting the Integrated Rail Plan into action so quickly after the report was released.
“Extending the Midland Main Line electrification is an early Christmas present to the region.
“Our job now is to build the infrastructure around it with HS2 trains coming to Derby and Nottingham through East Midlands Parkway.
“Our flagship project the Midlands Rail Hub progressing well, too.
“Today’s news is testament to local councils, businesses and MPs who have successfully made the case for upgrades on the Midland Main Line for years and the Department for Transport for working with us.
“Today is a good day for the Midlands as spades start to go into the ground.”