Promised rail work to enhance train services in Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby which was ‘paused’ in June is set to be restarted.
The electrification of the Midland mainline, as well as the TransPennine Express route across the north of the country, was cancelled from Network Rail’s plans earlier this year.
But now plans are in place to resume these works, in an announcement made today (Wednesday).
The works would see faster rail journeys from Bedford to Sheffield, a route which takes in Wellingborough and Kettering.
The line north of Bedford to Kettering and the line to Corby will be completed by 2019, with further lines completed by 2023.
MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove said: “I was very pleased to hear the excellent news this morning that the electrification of the Midland Mainline is to be ‘un-paused’, with work on the line to Corby expected to be completed by 2019.
“The electrification will improve journey times and lead to cleaner and more reliable journeys.
“I am delighted that Ministers have listened to the concerns raised by me and fellow East Midlands MPs and that Sir Peter Hendy, through his report into Network Rail, has been able to find a solution.”
Corby Council leader Cllr Tom Beattie feels the news is great for Corby’s growth.
He said: “The recommencement of the work to electrify the Midland Mainline is very welcomed news and we are glad to see that this part of Corby’s infrastructure will finally see improvements take place.
“I am very pleased that the government listened to representations from across the region, including cross party political support and local industry and enterprise partnerships.
“The upgrading and electrification of the line will be of huge benefit to the local area and the whole of the East Midlands, providing our residents, visitors and businesses with a faster and a more reliable way to travel, which will ultimately further support Corby’s growth and economic development in the future.”
Secretary of State for transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “As a one nation Government we are making sure every part of Britain benefits from a growing economy.
“Connecting up the great cities of the north is at the heart of our plan to build a northern powerhouse.
“This Government will see the job through and build a better, faster and more reliable railway for passengers in the north and Midlands.”
Chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy said: “The temporary pause in the programme has given us the space to develop a better plan for passengers.
“People can expect more services and faster journeys.
“We face some difficult challenges, and there is more work still to do, but the Secretary of State’s decision means we can now move forward with our plans to electrify TransPennine and Midland Mainline.”
Vice-Chairman of East Midlands Councils Cllr Jon Collins said: “This is a good announcement and I’m pleased that the Secretary of State has given this scheme the go-ahead.
“Electrification is crucial for our long term economic prosperity –especially given the Government’s commitment to HS2.
“It is particularly reassuring that the Government is convinced in the strength of our business case.
“This success is testament to joint efforts of the regions’ businesses, council leaders and MPs.”
Public ransport campaigner for better transport Martin Abrams said: “Passengers and communities in the north and Midlands will now be pleased to see the Government deliver this vital rail infrastructure work but given that we are still waiting for the various reviews of Network Rail to report, it’s hard to see how these big projects can be delivered in isolation from fixing the rest of the railway.
“Rather than delaying much needed rail improvements, the Government should review the billions it’s spending on damaging road building projects that increase traffic and pollution.
“This money would be better spent upgrading public transport, cycling and walking.”