THE DEPARTMENT for Transport has confirmed electrification of the Midland main line will continue north of Kettering to Market Harborough. The scope of the programme, originally due to continue to Nottingham and Sheffield, was cut back to Kettering and Corby in July 2017, with new bi-mode trains planned to be introduced instead. However, as we reported in our feature last month, a substation to feed the overhead wires is to be built at Braybrooke, just south of Market Harborough, which would no longer be on the electrified route. The DfT has remitted Network Rail to design a solution for connecting Braybrooke to the electrified line at Kettering and has now confirmed the preferred solution is an 11-mile extension of the overhead wires to Market Harborough. NR will design an extension of the electrification infrastructure and will install the equipment, and DfT says before delivery commitments are complete the scheme will need to be assessed as part of the overall programme business case. Electrification to Kettering and Corby is due to be used in passenger service from December 2020, and DfT says electrification to Market Harborough will follow by December 2023.

A DfT spokesperson said: ‘While there are no current plans to electrify the track further than Market Harborough, passengers will benefit from the roll out of modern trains, delivering faster journeys, more seats and a better quality service.’ A Network Rail spokesperson said: ‘As part of our next funding cycle (Control Period 6) we are looking into the viability of options which would enable electric trains to run from Market Harborough to London. We continue to work with the Department for Transport and train operators on this and other future investment plans to maximise the benefits of enhancements for passengers.’

Investment at Market Harborough: a Meridian passes with a Sheffield – St Pancras service on 30 January 2019, with hoardings at left showing where station reconstruction work to straighten the line through here is underway.
Philip Sherratt