Posted 14th July 2012 | 4 Comments
Hope grows for Midland Main Line electrification
Conversion of Class 222 Meridians to all-electric traction may also be on the cards
SPECULATION is growing that the Government is set to announce the electrification of the Midland Main Line at the start of the coming week. The announcement may be one of several about new rail projects.
Industry sources expect transport secretary Justine Greening to say that the MML is to be electrified between Bedford and Sheffield, and almost certainly to Corby and Nottingham as well.
The MML south of Bedford was electrified three decades ago for suburban services, but cities in the East Midlands and Yorkshire have been campaigning since then for the scheme to be extended north.
There is also the possibility that the wires could be extended on an 'infill' basis beyond Sheffield to Leeds and Doncaster, where they would join up with existing electrified lines.
A parallel announcement could concern the Bombardier-built Meridian units which run on the MML (writes Railnews editor Sim Harris).
These diesel electric trains could be converted to all-electric by the insertion of another car, carrying a pantograph. This proposal has been dubbed 'eVoyager', because so far the DfT has appeared to be concentrating on a conversion of the similar Voyager units in the CrossCountry fleet, but without such a conversion of the MML fleet it is not clear what electric trains would be available.
Although the announcement of the InterCity Express Programme is running years behind schedule, this may also be signed off soon. But all the indications are that electric IEP trains will be ordered only for the East Coast and Great Western routes.
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