MML wires go live

Sparks effect: the new electric stabling facility at Kettering delivered by Network Rail as part of the Midland main line upgrade.

Overhead wires between Bedford and Corby on the Midland main line were energised for testing over the weekend of 22-23 August.

Part of the Midland main line upgrade, the electrification will enable East Midlands Railway to launch a new half-hourly service between Corby and St Pancras in May 2021, to be operated by Class 360 EMUs cascaded from Greater Anglia. Network Rail will now test the newly energised equipment with the aim of achieving regulatory sign-off from the Office of Rail and Road later this year.

When the timetable changes, EMR will increase its service frequency to and from St Pancras from five to six trains per hour, with two trains each to Corby, Nottingham and Sheffield. The Class 360s are currently cycling through Siemens’ Kings Heath depot in Northampton for modification to increase their top speed to 110mph. They are expected to transfer from Greater Anglia to EMR towards the end of the year, ahead of testing and driver training before the electric service commences next May.

Upgrade work on the MML also includes works at stations, including platform extensions and a new platform 4 at Wellingborough, as well as new substations and construction of an electric stabling facility at Kettering, which is due to be handed over to EMR this autumn. NR has already completed the reinstatement of a fourth track between Sharnbrook and Kettering.