Major rail electrification schemes restarted but will be delayed by years

The Midland Mainline and the Trans Pennine electrification schemes are to be resumed forthwith but they will take many years longer than originally planned to complete.

Both schemes were ‘paused’ on June 25th by the DfT, concerned about Network Rail missing 30 out of its planned 84 enhancement milestones and by  being £234m over budget (LTT 26 June). Most of the work will now be completed under the next control period (CP6, 2019-24).

Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, has acceded to a request from Network Rail Chairman, Sir Peter Hendy, to restart works.  Hendy is currently reviewing and replanning Network Rail’s enhancements committed under CP5 (2014-19) and will report back to the Minister in November.

The first stage of the Midland Mainline, between Bedford and Kettering /Corby will now be completed by 2019 (as against December 2017 as originally scheduled); and the section north of Kettering to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield has been put back to 2023 (as against 2019/2020). The Trans Pennine electrification between Stalybridge and Leeds, and between Leeds and York/Selby, should now see fruition in 2022 (as against 2018).

Diesel trains, like the Class 222 depicted here at Sheffield, will continue to operate on the MML until electrification in 2023.
Diesel trains, like the Class 222 depicted here at Sheffield, will continue to operate on the MML until electrification is completed in 2023.

Hendy suggests that Trans Pennine electrification should not commence until early 2018 – pending the outcome of a full joint planning exercise between Network Rail, the DfT and Transport for the North to improve the previously paused scheme – though some enabling works should be carried out before then.

Regarding possible financial implications and funding shortfalls, Hendy informed McLoughlin: “I understand the Government acknowledge that unpausing now will create a further significant spending pressure. A considerable amount of the electrification costs of both schemes will fall outside CP5 and this will form part of the core of CP6 as schemes which will by then be under way.”

682/Oct 15

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