gb-MML overhead line equipment ready to be installed between Market Harborough and Wigston

Overhead line equipment ready to be installed between Market Harborough and Wigston.

UK: Network Rail announced on November 3 that it had started piling work on the next phase of electrification of the Midland Main Line between Market Harborough and Wigston, near Leicester.

Contractor SPL Powerlines is installing piles up to 7 m deep to support the 25 kV 50 Hz electrification masts as part of a £12·8bn phased programme for modernisation and electrification of the MML between London St Pancras, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield. This was approved last year as part of the government’s Integrated Rail Plan, as an alternative for the proposed Eastern Leg of High Speed 2, which would have carried London – Sheffield – Leeds inter-city services.

EMR Class 360 EMU

Operator East Midlands Railway only has one fully electrified route; this links London St Pancras with Corby. London - Sheffield services are currently operated by DMUs.

The latest package of works will see the wires extend north by 19 km from Market Harborough to Wigston. The piling work is expected to be completed by August 2023, with the wires being installed over the course of next year.

‘Starting this next phase of work is a huge step forward for the Midland Main Line Upgrade’, said Gavin Crook, Network Rail’s Principal Programme Sponsor. ‘It adds to the important work we’ve already completed to transform journeys between London and Corby, and sees us work towards a fully electrified route.’