Network Rail is continuing with work on a £1.5billion upgrade of the Midland Main Line which will improve journeys for all those using the route. 

On 4/5 and 11/12 July, work will take place to commission and test two new substations on the route between Bedford and Ampthill. This work is a vital part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade and will help to improve resilience on the railway, as well as provide the power needed to allow more trains to run in the future.  

Work will also take place to improve the track on the route, as well as to install further overhead line equipment. Overhead line equipment carries 25,000 volts of electricity, enough to seriously injure or kill anyone coming into contact with it. Network Rail has launched a hard-hitting safety campaign, Always On, which warns people of the dangers of trespassing on the tracks, particularly where the railway is electrified. You can find out more here: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/safety-in-the-community/railway-safety-campaigns/always-on/ 

To allow the work over these weekends to take place safely, some lines on the Midland Main Line will be closed. Network Rail, East Midlands Railway and Govia Thameslink Railway are urging passengers to check before travelling whilst this work takes place.

  • Saturday, 4 July – No trains will be able to call at Market Harborough or Leicester after 22:00. A bus replacement service will run between Kettering, Market Harborough and Leicester and between Leicester and Loughborough 
  • Sunday, 5 July – No trains will be able to call at Market Harborough or Leicester. A bus replacement service will run between Kettering, Market Harborough and Leicester and between Leicester and Loughborough 
  • Saturday, 11 July – Trains to/from Sheffield and Nottingham will start/terminate at Market Harborough. Rail replacement buses will run between Market Harborough and Luton, and trains operated by Thameslink will run between Luton and St Pancras.
  • Sunday, 12 July – Trains to/from Sheffield and Nottingham will start/terminate at Corby, and will not call at Leicester or Market Harborough. Rail replacement buses will run between Loughborough and Luton and between Corby and Luton. Trains operated by Thameslink will run between Luton and St Pancras.

Passengers are urged to continue to avoid public transport where possible. Those who do need to travel are advised to check their journey ahead of time via National Rail Enquiries or eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk or thameslinkrailway.com. Those who are using public transport should wear face coverings to protect themselves and others, however, some passengers are exempt, including young children, people with disabilities, both visible and hidden, and those with breathing difficulties.  

Gavin Crook, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “This work is a key part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade, which will bring significant benefits for passengers when complete. 

“Over these weekends, we’ll be installing further overhead line equipment, as well as commissioning two new substations, which will help provide more power for the railway. 

“We urge people to continue to follow Government guidance, which is to avoid public transport if possible. However, if you must travel, please check before travelling and allow additional time for your journey.” 

Lisa Angus, Transition and Projects Director for East Midlands Railway, said “We are advising any passengers who may need to travel on the Midland Main Line over the first two weekends of July to check our website as there are a number of significant changes to our services that may affect your journey.  

“As always, we thank our passengers for their patience whilst this crucial work is taking place. When the work is complete, it will improve journeys for passengers in the future”.  

Thameslink Customer Services Director Jenny Saunders, said Thameslink passengers would not be affected on the first weekend of work, but added: “From 11pm on Saturday, 11 July, we will have a reduced service between London Blackfriars and Bedford, and from midnight until 8:15am on Sunday, 12 July, there will be buses instead of trains between Luton and Bedford.

“During the pandemic, people should already be asking themselves, ‘Is my journey really necessary?’ If it is, then please check your journey online and allow plenty of extra time because of this essential work.”

ENDS