I welcome today’s news that the Department of Transport is to “un-pause” the Midland Main Line Electrification project. I have long supported this project and the improvements it will bring – this news is fantastic for my constituents and for the East Midlands. I know many of you have expressed your concern over the pause, announced in June, and you will know that I have repeatedly called on the Government in Parliament to restart the project as soon as possible and ensure that the East Midlands will benefit.
Under the new plan, Network Rail will recommence work to electrify the Midland Mainline – the vital long-distance corridor serving the UK’s industrial heartland. Sir Peter is proposing that line speed and capacity improvement works already in hand are added to, whigh means the electrification of the line north of Bedford to Kettering and Corby by 2019 and the line North of Kettering to Leicester, Derby/Nottingham and Sheffield by 2023.
I’m delighted by the announcement and the Government’s commitment to investing in our infrastructure here in the East Midlands; however, I would still like to see the branch line through Alfreton and Langley Mill stations included in the plans, and I shall continue to push for this in Parliament. I want to make sure all parts of the East Midlands will be able to take advantage of the potential investment, improved journey times and local job creation. If the Chancellor wants the Midlands to be the country’s engine of growth; I’m glad the Government is committed to ensuring that this engine has the infrastructure and reliable tracks to run on.