It’s good to see the Coalition getting behind a major investment in Britain’s Railways, particularly at a time when the economy needs a significant boost. These proposals have, however, been around for some time. In 2009 Network Rail consulted on the proposal to electrify the East Midland Mainline. In October 2009 Network Rail announced plans to electrify the route. The Leicester Mercury quoted Network Rail saying the “work would pay for itself over 60 years in cheaper running costs and maintenance”.
But the plans where put back in favour of the West Coast Mainline improvements.
As a regular traveler on the East Midlands network the improvements will be welcome, however, after spending a few days in the North West last week, and traveling between Wigan and Liverpool, I sometimes feel that things can be much worse. Yes trains between Birmingham and Stanstead Airport are not frequent enough, and they finish far too early in the evening. They are not the ramshackle and rickety trains that pile in to Liverpool Lime Street.
This investment is welcome, but much more is needed, and it’s about time that passengers started to feel the benefit in reduced costs, more flexible ticketing, and more interconnected services.