Passenger services’ use of newly commissioned track and signalling installed by Network Rail marks the successful completion of a £130m capacity project.
Since construction began between the two Northamptonshire towns in 2014, a significant amount of work has been carried out to improve the capacity, speed and resilience of the Kettering to Corby route, helped by the railway partnership between East Midlands Trains and Network Rail, as well as the patience and understanding of both passengers and local communities along the railway.
This project is a key part of the Midland Mainline upgrade, which is an investment of over £1bn. From 2020, this upgrade will enable improved long-distance passenger services between Sheffield, Nottingham and London, as well as improved services between Corby, Kettering and London. There will be more seats and faster intercity journeys during the peak, which will in turn strengthen the railways contribution to the economy.
Tthe Kettering to Corby upgrade has strengthened 14 bridges and viaducts, laid 21km of track (12km of new track and renewal of 9km of existing track), installed 4km of drainage, stabilised 15km of railway embankment and laid 73km of cabling laid. Further work will be delivered between Kettering and Corby to get the route ready for electric train services.
Whilst the full benefits of this work will arrive in 2020, with over 1000 additional extra seats into London in the peak, an increase of around 50 per cent, the immediate benefits include the improved reliability for passengers, the removal of a temporary speed restriction, an improved diversionary route and the ability to accommodate freight containers helping to remove traffic from local roads.
We are investing in the most significant upgrade of the Midland Main Line since it was completed in 1870 to transform services for passengers. This will mean more than 1,000 extra seats available on services into London in the peak and faster intercity journey times on greener trains.
The double tracking of the route from Corby will help to deliver 50 per cent more seats in the peak between Kettering, Corby and London, and is essential to meet the growing demand for rail in the Midlands.
Jo Johnson, Rail Minister
This is a milestone moment for the Midland Main Line – which is undergoing its largest upgrade since being completed in 1870.
Last week saw the final piece of this part of the project completed as the newly installed signalling equipment was tested and commissioned.
Passengers and the local community will really see the benefits of this investment in the future and I’m grateful for their patience whilst the work was carried out.
Spencer Gibbens, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail