UK ditches electrification plans in Wales, the Midlands and the North

Photo: LandFox /

The UK government has abandoned plans to electrify the railway 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) this morning said electrification of the 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, 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.

Photo: Joe Dunckley /

Bi-mode trains will also be deployed in place of electrifying the Midland Main Line north of Kettering to Nottingham and Sheffield.

“We do not intend to proceed with plans to electrify the line from Kettering to Sheffield and Nottingham, and there will be further investment to come to ensure Sheffield is HS2-ready.”

Finally, the government also no longer plans to electrify the Windermere-Oxenholme route. The DfT says 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 and deserve 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.”

More to follow

Read more: Final HS2 route published



  1. oxenhome to windermere is no hardship – a bi-mode seems the logical answer. Bi-modes could save many threatened branches.

    • If the Government kills-off HS2 – which they won’t – Elon Musk will be knocking on their door saying he will build Hyperloop between London and Manchester at no cost to the British taxpayer.

  2. Hitachi will be rubbing their hands – additional revenue by another change to the original contract.
    Additional maintenance cost for the train operator for 100% bi-mode fleet.
    Additional axle-load due to engines, tanks and drivetrain mods putting more strain on our ageing infrastructure.
    Additional emissions from diesel engines where there would have been electric traction only.
    The HST´s where introduced 40 years ago – so we now have missed the slot for another 40 years+ to go electric only.
    A very short sighted and poor decision by an organisation not fit for purpose.

    • Got that 100% right Mike, has there been a more clueless Government or Transport Minister?
      they are totally obsessed with the vanity project that is HS2/3 (or more),ask anyone what they are and you will get blank faces!
      The basic problem is the overcrowding of this small island with millions of migrants and will only get worse as more and more flood in,untill that is solved building more rail lines in the south wont change a thing

  3. You can bet that, in the near future, Chris Grayling will announce the go-ahead for Crossrail 2, extensions to additional tube lines and enhancements to London Overground. People will say that, once more, the South East will be getting all the investment in rail infrastructure and the rest of England and Wales is having to make-do-and-mend.


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