The Government’s cancellation of the planned electrification of the Midland Mainline through to Nottingham, Derby and Leicester has been criticised by the Leader of Nottingham City Council as a short-term decision which is unfair to the East Midlands.
The cancellation comes less than two years after the Government gave the scheme the final go ahead after it had previously been paused.
Instead of full electrification, the Government now says it wants explore the use of ‘bi mode’ trains which use diesel and electric power trains. However, as the East Midlands Chamber has pointed out, bi-mode trains would be heavier than existing stock, accelerating more slowly and taking longer to stop. They would also have to stop for longer at Kettering to switch from one power source to the other.
Nottingham City Council Leader, Councillor Jon Collins, said: “This is a short term decision and bi-mode trains are a short term solution.
“Electrification of the Midland Main Line through the East Midlands is crucial to our vision for integrating HS2 into the existing rail network – and in particular for securing a connection with the HS2 line to enable direct high speed services between Leicester and Leeds. It is not at all clear that the alternatives to HS2 classic compatible trains can achieve the same level of performance.
“The East Midlands is being treated unfairly by the Government in missing out on this valuable transport investment. Sadly, it’s part of an ongoing trend for the region to see lower levels of rail investment than elsewhere in the country, particularly London and the South East.”
Leaders in the East Midlands have asked for an urgent meeting with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and the Chair of Midlands Connect Sir John Peace to discuss the cancellation.