Published on : Saturday, March 26, 2016
The railway in the East Midlands is undergoing a transformation. Network Rail’s current upgrade programme is re-energising one of Britain’s oldest railways by delivering an electrified railway which can carry more and longer trains, more quickly.
Today Network Rail publishes the East Midlands Route Study which has been developed in partnership with train operators and other industry partners to look at predicted medium and long-term demand for rail travel and determine what further investment might be needed in order to meet that demand to continue to support growth in the communities and economy of the East Midlands.
Erica Blamire, principal strategic planner at Network Rail, said: “It is an exciting time for rail in the East Midlands. Our railway upgrade plan is already creating a railway which can carry more passengers, more quickly and which continues to support rail freight which is vital to our economy. The East Midlands Route Study looks to build upon that, setting out potential future investment for the region.”
Network Rail is already working as part of the Midlands Connect Partnership to identify and prioritise options for investment to accelerate growth across the Midlands. This includes early development work into improving East-West Midlands journey times, to be prepared for inclusion in the final version of the West Midlands & Chiltern Route Study.
The East Midlands Route Study is the result of many months work by Network Rail and other industry stakeholders. It outlines several “choices for funders”, which are potential value for money schemes which funding bodies such as Department for Transport, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Midlands Connect, councils or other bodies may wish to fund.
The key “choices for funders” within the East Midlands study are:
“Leicester capacity” improvements. This would build upon development work which is already underway and could include more platforms at Leicester and Syston, an extra track between Syston and Wigston and junction improvements at both Wigston and Syston to unblock the bottleneck in the Leicester area.Resignalling between Peterborough and Syston to allow more trains to run as well as meeting demand for rail freight growth between Felixstowe and the West Midlands.
The Route Study also found that train lengthening on several key routes would allow more passengers to travel without the need to carry out further infrastructure work. It also recommends that development work should continue on East-West Rail which proposes a new rail link between Bedford and Cambridge as an extension of the route between Oxford and Bedford.