Council fears rail electrification delay will harm region

Market Harborough Train Station. NNL-150302-191745001
Market Harborough Train Station. NNL-150302-191745001

The Government’s decision to halt the electrification of the Midland Mainline before it gets to Leicestershire has been condemned by the county council.

Council leader Nick Rushton said he welcomed the investment in Market Harborough station, but was “extremely concerned” that the line’s electrification would stop at Kettering.

Electric trains are quicker, smoother and greener than traditional trains.

Cllr Rushton said: “We welcome the government’s investment – particularly in the track improvements in Harborough which would reduce journey times to London.”

But he insisted: “Whilst we accept that the government must deliver their plans within a budget and this means some investments will have to be delayed, we are extremely concerned that electrification works between Kettering, Nottingham and Sheffield are seen as being no longer needed.

“Full electrification of the Midland Mainline is essential to deliver on the aspiration to integrate it with the HS2 network so that the full benefits of HS2 can be realised across the Midlands.”

He said that less efficient trains could hamper economic development of the region.

“We are striving to deliver a £70 million boost to the economy through our rail strategy” he said, “and we must pursue this for the benefit of Leicestershire residents and businesses.”

“We will be liaising with our Leicestershire MPs to ensure the government’s promises on this are delivered in the longer term.”