Wednesday, April 2, 2014

News: Electrification timetabled for 2020

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The section of the Midland Mainline (MML) in the Sheffield city region will not be electrified in Network Rail's next spending period.

Network Rail, the owners and operators of Britain's rail infrastructure, has recently finalised its next five year investment programme to 2019 (known as control period 5, or CP5).

The plan for the MML, which links Sheffield with the East Midlands and London St Pancras will deliver more seats, improved performance and more space for freight.


Network Rail plans to electrify the route north of Bedford, working north. It will reach Corby at the end of 2017; Nottingham and Derby will follow at the end of 2019 and Sheffield at the end of 2020.

Network Rail had only planned to electrify parts of the line between Nottingham and St Pancras by December 2019, with Derby to Sheffield then expected to be electrified by December 2021 in Network Rail's next control period (CP6). The Government challenged Network Rail to re-prioritise the roll-out of the programme, for example by bringing electrification to Sheffield into CP5.

Raising the speed for passenger services from 110mph to a maximum permissible speed of 125mph, the £500m investment will provide more seats at peak times, helping to meet growing demand from passengers, reduce carbon footprint by up to 11,000 tons, equivalent to annual greenhouse gas emissions from 1,828 passenger vehicles, cut the cost of running the railway by £60m a year and contribute to economic growth and new jobs for the region.

Another key project for the Sheffield city region is the £560m Northern Hub. The massive upgrading of the rail network of the North is set to create 20,000 jobs and increases rail capacity across the north of England by 700 services per day. Elements includes £45m for doubling Dore junction and Calder Valley journey time improvement.

The hopes are that the Northern Hub would lead to a faster journey time of 40 minutes between Sheffield and Manchester with trains running every 20 minutes.

The Northen Hub also has the potential to bring faster services to the recently redeveloped Rotherham Central station and an extra train every hour throughout the day to Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool.

In its plans, Network Rail committed £13m to the Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train pilot project and said that critical junction renewals are planned for Rotherham Masborough, Aldwarke Junction in 2014 and at Holmes Junction in 2015.

It is anticipated that electrification of Sheffield – Doncaster, Swinton to South Kirkby Junction and Chesterfield – Beighton Junction – Rotherham would be part of an on going rolling programme of electrification to complete these parts of the "Electric Spine" in CP6.

Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: "Our railway is a vital part of our national infrastructure. Rail services connect homes and workplaces, businesses and markets; they create jobs, stimulate trade and support the growth of a balanced economy."

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) recently joined forces with other transport organisation across the North of England to create Rail North. The partnership is developing a strategy for rail in the North as the Government prepares to refranchise the Northern and TransPennine services from 2016.

Network Rail website

Images: Network Rail

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