Ambitious £500 million scheme to electrify the railway from Harborough to Sheffield could be revived

The Department for Transport is now working with Network Rail in a bid to breathe new life into the idea, which was scrapped in 2017

Friday, 9th July 2021, 11:07 am
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 11:08 am
An ambitious £500 million scheme to electrify the railway from Market Harborough to Sheffield could be revived.

An ambitious £500 million scheme to electrify the railway from Market Harborough to Sheffield could be revived.

The Government sparked fury when it scrapped the bold blueprint to upgrade the entire Midland Mainline to Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield in 2017 to save cash.

But the Department for Transport is now working with Network Rail in a bid to breathe new life into the massive initiative.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Enabling and design work is currently taking place to progress electrification of the Midland Mainline beyond Kettering to Market Harborough, as well as to enable the introduction of the new bi-mode trains to be introduced on the route in 2023.

“Further electrification of the MML to Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield is currently being examined by the Department and Network Rail, and is at an early stage of development.

“This work will be subject to the development of a satisfactory business case.”

Full electrification was scuppered four years ago after millions of pounds had already been spent re-modelling railway bridges in Leicestershire to accommodate new overhead cabling.

Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the Liberal Democrats on Harborough District Council, said: “This is an important rethink.

“There has already been huge amounts of time and money spent on this over the years.”

The councillor added: “The importance and opportunities the upgrade would bring has been well argued for quite a long time.

“Let’s hope that the outcome this time is positive and delivers the hoped-for result.”