In a statement made to the House today, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that long-awaited work to electrify the Midland Mainline would now be “paused”. You can read the full text of his statement by clicking here
This is very disappointing news, as many of you will know, I welcomed the decision to electrify the line alongside a number local businesses, passengers and constituents who work in the railway industry. I have raised the issue in Parliament, in written questions, and by lobbying the Department of Transport on numerous occasions in the past to ensure this vital work takes place.
Electrification would cut journey times and boost capacity for passengers and freight, growth in the local areas alongside the line and a much needed upgrade the service from Sheffield – through Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester – to Bedford. According to recent assessments the electrification of the line would represent an infrastructure investment of £1.3 billion according to recent assessments.
The electrification of the line would have represented a substantial investment with a strong business case behind it. I strongly believe that the Government should restart this project as soon as possible. This is a clear commitment in the Conservative Party manifesto that must be honoured.
I was in the Chamber for the Secretary of State’s announcement and I expressed my concern over this pause. Rest assured, I shall continue to raise this matter in Parliament to try and obtain a timescale on how long this pause will last and when we can expect this long-awaited and much needed work to be completed.