Almost (?) scuppered
In July 2012, BBC East Midlands Political editor John Hess wrote that the biggest investment in the Midland Main Line since the Victorians built it — electrification between Bedford and Sheffield — was almost scuppered.
[Midland Mainline rail deal almost derailed by Treasury, BBC, 23 July 2012]
[…] Also threatened was the promise of cutting journey times from the East Midlands to London St Pancras.
This was because of last minute objections from the Treasury – officials were unhappy at the price tag.
It took last gasp political lobbying of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to secure the entire project.
I understand that just a few days before last week’s announcement by the Cabinet, Treasury officials were reluctant to give the scheme their full backing.
Electrification between the East Midlands and London St Pancras was estimated at £500 million.
But an additional £300 million was needed to improve journey times by smoothing out three so-called ‘pinch points’ on the line near Derby, Leicester and Melton Mowbray.
It was those improvements that Treasury officials wanted to chop.
Electrification is “one large piece of a bigger puzzle which includes capacity improvement works, station remodelling and resignalling schemes”. Altogether, £1.3 billion is being spent upgrading the route and electrifying the line to Derby by 2019 and Sheffield by 2020, wrote Marc Johnson (March 27, 2015).
[Midland Main Line electrification – A fairytale ending, Marc Johnson, Rail Staff, March 27, 2015]
The Midland Main Line (MML) is described as being something of a ‘Cinderella’ railway. That’s a nice way of saying that it hasn’t seen much in the way of investment in recent years. The East Midlands region in particular has not benefitted from the cash injection seen on routes in other parts of the country.
In CP5, however, the region which gave birth to the railway is finally going to the ball – thanks to an unprecedented portfolio of enhancements. It may be surprising, but the electrification of the MML will cover a distance three quarters the size of the Great Western electrification programme.
At the time of writing, on the East Midlands Trains website, the electrification page has disappeared.