A pause is still a pause on Midlands Mainline, says Rail minister


Rail minister Claire Perry was unable to give cross-party MPs the assurances they were looking for over the suspended Midlands Mainline electrification programme in a Westminster debate.

Electrification of the Midland Mainline linking London to Sheffield was officially paused this summer along with electrification on the Transpennine route between Leeds and Manchester, following a dismal run of project delivery from Network Rail.

Harry Harpham MP (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough, Labour) secured the debate to raise cross-party concern over the issue, with Ms Perry in attendance to give a response.

However Ms Perry did not concede to demands to guarantee a date for resumption of the programme and other smaller works on the line while electrification is paused.

Rail minister Claire Perry

She suggested that no firm assurance could be given until after the Hendy review of the Network Rail’s project delivery plan under the current investment period – control period 5 2014-19 – however listed works that were currently in progress.

Sir Peter Hendy, former commissioner of Transport for London, is the new chairman of Network Rail and was asked by government to report by autumn 2015 with a plan ‘to get the rail investment programme back onto a sustainable footing’.

Ms Perry said: ‘I am happy to give what perhaps shouldn’t be a cast-iron, but a stainless steel guarantee that £38bn of investment will be spent on British railways over the next few years.

‘A pause is a pause…Network Rail are tasked with delivering these improvements we are relying on Hendy and his team to come back and set out exactly what that delivery programme looks like. He will shortly deliver a plan that will approach the delivery of these upgrades and set out specific clarity around these electrification projects.’

In the meantime Ms Perry said the four-track work is currently going ahead at Corby to Kettering, while work is also being done to remove bottlenecks at Derby station and improve the speed of the line south of Chesterfield.

Cross-party MPs made a passionate and generally comradely show of concerns. Chair of the CLG select committee Clive Betts highlighted the strong business case for the line, its potential to unlock development and the value for money already delivered on improvements, including 10 minutes shaved off journey times through less than £100m of investment.

The debate came after the leaders of all main political parties at Nottinghamshire County Council wrote to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, calling for a firm date for the resumption of the electrification works and assurances that no approval be given for electrification of any other routes before the Midlands Mainline.

In a statement to Transport Network, Ms Perry said in response: ‘We are committed to electrifying the Midland Mainline and it will be part of our future plans, but we want it done properly, which is why it has been paused while Network Rail reviews how its programme of rail improvements can be brought back on track.

‘I recognise that people in Nottinghamshire will be disappointed by the difficult decision we had to make about pausing this important work. However, we are working with Network Rail on improvements that can be made to the line before electrification, to allow faster services and more capacity. Our massive investment in Nottingham station underlines our commitment.’

The news comes as the Government announced the direct award of a contract extension for Stagecoach to continue to operate train services on the East Midlands franchise until 2018.

East Midlands Trains’ parent company Stagecoach Group will pay the government £150m to run the franchise from October 2015 to March 2018. Prices will be frozen on the line for the duration of the deal.

Around 26 million journeys are made on East Midlands Trains services every year.

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Senior Team Leader

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 to £38,994 per annum inclusive
Looking for individuals with initiative, evidence of experience in managing a street cleansing service and motivating... Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Information Management Officer x 2 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £26,317
Looking for better and smarter ways to operate and you will play a key role working across a broad range of service... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Graduate Engineer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
This is an exciting new opportunity in the Highway Services team to play a pivotal role in creating a safe and... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Chief Fire Officer

West Sussex County Council
Competitive Salary plus Financial Support for Recruitment and Retention
We are looking for an exceptional individual who can lead our Fire & Rescue Service Chichester, West Sussex
Recuriter: West Sussex County Council

School Crossing Patrol

Brent Council
£21,591 - £22,377 p.a. inc. pro rata.
Looking for someone that is friendly, has great communication skills and enjoys working with children. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Engineer (Highway Design)

Darlington Borough Council
£31,371 - £33,799
Looking to employ an experienced person within the Highway Design team to meet the challenge of enabling development... Darlington, Durham
Recuriter: Darlington Borough Council

Project Manager – Major Maintenance and Infrastructure Projects 

Liverpool City Council
£42,683 - £47,491 
The successful candidate will ensure that effective procurement and delivery of highways maintenance and improvement. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Green Space Development Manager

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team and contribute to our commitment to deliver for... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Green Space Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£40,829 - £47,360
The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team and contribute to our commitment to deliver for the people of Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Senior Principal Planning Officer - Fixed Term

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£39.774 - £42.684
Looking for key members of the team that will be instrumental in transforming the Borough and opportunities available for residents.  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Career Grade Planner

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27228 - £36711
In this role you will deal primarily with small-scale planning applications covering a wide range of planning issues. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Career Grade Planning Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27.228 - £36.711
We offer a great opportunity to develop your career with a positive approach to development and a desire to put... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Director of Place and Communities

Ashfield District Council
As the Director for Place and Communities you will provide strategic and operational leadership across a range of key services including Waste... Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: Ashfield District Council

Highways Operative - 3 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£18,426 - £21,166 (plus 20% enhancement if working in the night team)
You will be responsible for providing effective maintenance and development of the Kirklees road network carrying out a range of highway works. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Rights of Way Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£26,470 - £28,221
The purpose of the role is to implement and advise on the maintenance, protection, improvement and promotion of access... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Road Safety and Sustainable Transport Assistant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£11.41 - £12.35 per hour
Are you passionate about Road Safety, and want to help educate road users and develop their skills? Wrekin, Telford
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council


Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
As an Engineer, you will be required to lead the delivery of a wide range of highway improvements and maintenance projects to... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Inspector / Senior Inspector

City of Bradford MDC
£21,166 - £31,371 pa
This is an opportunity to join the Highway Maintenance team who have responsibility for maintenance of around 2,000km of adopted road network. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Head of Highways Infrastructure

Leeds City Council
£72,397 - £79,637
Seeking an exceptional candidate for the position of Head of Highways Infrastructure to lead on the authority’s duty to... Leeds, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Leeds City Council

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council