Government drops rail electrification plans

Posted on 10 Aug 2017 and read 376 times
Government drops rail electrification plansThe Government has ditched plans to electrify the railway line between Cardiff and Swansea, the Midland Main Line north of Kettering and the line between Windermere and Oxenholme in favour of bi-mode or ‘alternative-fuel’ trains.

An announcement from the Department for Transport (DfT) at the end of last month said that electrification of these lines was no longer needed and that cancelling the work would result in less disruption for passengers.

Referring to the Cardiff-Swansea route, the statement said: “Rapid delivery of passenger benefits, while minimising disruption and engineering work, should always be our priority, and as technology changes, we must reconsider our approach to modernising the railways.”

The argument is based on the planned introduction of bi-mode Class 800 trains later this year to the Cardiff-Swansea route. Bi-mode trains will also be deployed in place of electrifying the Midland Main Line from Kettering to Nottingham and Sheffield.

With regard to the Windermere-Oxenholme route, the DfT says that using alternative-fuel trains will stop OLE gantries “spoiling protected landscapes”.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era and upgrading services across the country, including in Wales, the Midlands and the North.

“Passengers expect high-quality rail services, and we are committed to using the best available technology for each part of the network, delivering significant benefits for those who use our railways.”

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