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.
Network Rail published at the end of last week 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.
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.
The study also considers how new technology, known as the ‘digital railway’ can be used to create further improvements for passengers and freight users and has been developed to make sure that the benefits of High Speed 2 are maximised. It outlines the following, longer term choices for funders:
For further longer-term growth and faster journeys:
South of Bedford area
Bedford Midland station area
Kettering – Kilby Bridge Junction
Nuneaton – Leicester area
Syston East Junction - Peterborough area (additional track for further long-term growth)
Stenson Junction – Sheet Stores Junction
Birmingham – Derby area
Chesterfield area (Tapton Junction to Clay Cross Junction
To be HS2-ready:
• Trent Junctions
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