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.
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