Always On

Electrifying the Midland Main Line to provide better services for passengers

As part of the largest upgrade since it was completed in 1870, the Midland Main Line is being electrified from Kettering to Wigston to enable quieter and greener trains to operate on our network.

Bi-mode trains, when in electric mode, are quieter and better for the environment than diesel trains – benefitting both passengers and people living close to the railway.

However, this also means there will be a deadly 25,000-volts running through the overhead wires along the railway at ALL times.

Whilst there is no danger to people using the railway correctly, anyone who does not respect the railway boundary – the fence line that protects both people and the operational railway from deliberate or accidental trespass – is placing themselves at risk.

Remember the danger you can’t see

In order to electrify the railway Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) will be installed alongside and above the existing track to provide power to trains. This consists of overhead wires and supporting steel masts that distribute electricity to trains at 25,000 volts.

The steel masts are spaced between 40-70 metres apart along the track and will carry the contact wire at a height of approximately 4.7 metres above track level – just a little taller than the trains themselves.

So, whilst electrification will bring important benefits, 25,000 volts is an enormous amount of power and why a vital part of our work involves communicating with people living and working along the railway to advise them of the potential risks.

Informing communities

A vital part of delivering electrification involves communicating with people living and working along the railway to advise them of the potential risks.

As well as a significant advertising campaign – including radio, local newspaper and poster advertising – leaflets containing important safety information will also be distributed. In addition, great effort is also going into reaching out to higher risk audiences.

Working with schools

Because young people are the most likely to trespass, Network Rail held workshops with schools near trespass hotspots to develop and film a 30 minute drama highlighting the risks posed by high voltage overhead wires.  The students’ story was then professionally scripted by Shazia Rashid and cast using acclaimed young actors including Harry Kirton (from Peaky Blinders) and BAFTA nominee Aimee Kelly. It has won already awards and been viewed over 4.5million times. Watch the film below.

Award-winning story launches as a comic at Comic-Con

Inspired by our film ‘Eighteen’, we launched a comic at MCM Comic Con in Birmingham on 16 November 2021.

The film, which centres around a central characters 18th birthday, highlights the dangers of trespassing and has surpassed 6 million views on YouTube.

Digital comic now available

To reach our target audience further, we have now created a digital version of the comic. You can now read or download the comic below.

What happens if you are electrocuted?

Electricity seeks the easiest path to the ground from wherever it starts. The human body is around 60% water so people are potentially very good conductors. If you come into contact with electrified overhead lines…

  • The heat passing through the human body causes severe damage to internal organs
  • Tissue burns beneath the skin cause scarring and black marks on the surface
  • The muscles in your heart fail – stopping the flow of blood and oxygen
  • Lungs and respiratory system are paralysed
  • The body’s nervous system – which relies on tiny electrical impulses to function – is disrupted, causing paralysis and affecting your ability to think, respond and remember
  • 9 out of 10 people die. The remainder suffer life-changing injuries.

Helpful resources

For more information on how to stay safe on the railway, the dangers of electrified lines and trespass, please have a look at the resources below.


Electrified lines are Always On. So Always Stay Off!