On 26 July, Chris Curtis, Network Rail’s Industry Timetable Change Assurance Director, wrote to the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland and Transport for the North recommending that the May 2022 East Coast main line timetable should be deferred to May 2023‘or beyond’. The e-mail identified five ‘risks’ to the introduction of the timetable, all unlikely to be resolved in the time remaining.
These risks are:
▀ traction power supply capacity;
▀ uncertainty over the future availability from the LNER train fleet;
▀ operational reliability of the timetable;
▀ development of the timetable itself;
▀ critical responses to the just closed public consultation on the timetable.
According to informed sources, the recent rejection by Western Power Distribution (WPD), the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO), of a request for an increase in power drawn from the Retford feeder station was ‘the final blow’. Power supplies have been a longstanding issue on the route.