Bondholder East Midlands Chamber has called on the Government to commit to the electrification of the Midland Main Line.
Following on from a late night debate in the House of Commons, called by Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough, Under-Secretary of State for Transport Paul Maynard said only that electrification to Corby and Kettering would go ahead as planned.
Pressed by Nicky Morgan and regional MPs from both sides of the House, Mr Maynard said track improvements to, but not through, the East Midlands, would increase capacity and improve services on the whole route.
He said further electrification would be carried out “incrementally”, refusing to be drawn on a timetable for completion.
Last year, then Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, having stalled and ‘unstalled’ electrification of the line to Sheffield, said the work would be completed by 2023.
Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber, said: “Business is calling on Government to commit to electrification of Midland Main Line all the way to Sheffield by 2023.
“Unlike other lines proposed for electrification, the design and preliminary works have all been done. Network Rail had a team of highly-skilled personnel set up to deliver Midland Main Line electrification. When the project was ‘stalled’ the team was split-up and took time to reassemble when it was ‘unstalled’ again.
“The repeated delays can only increase uncertainty for business and materially disadvantage the East Midlands at a time when the Government should be doing everything it can to demonstrate confidence in UK plc through infrastructure investment. "
The Chamber's comments are echoed by the Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, David Ralph.
David believes that 'a failure to deliver the Midland Main Line electrification would be a further blow' to investment and infrasturcture.