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Major new report highlights need for electrification of East West Rail and Midland Mainline

May 3, 2021 8:00 AM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

Cllr Michael HeadleyA major new report has highlighted the 'overwhelming case' for full electrification of both East West Rail and the Midland Mainline, say Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats.

In its comprehensive report, 'Why Rail Electrification?', the Railway Industry Association concludes that for rail to contribute to the UK's aim of net-zero carbon by 2050, a rolling programme of electrification is needed now to tackle a vast backlog of works required. The report finds that electrification is a good investment both financially and environmentally, and that while alternatives such as battery or hydrogen powered lines will have some part to play on the network, they cannot replace conventional electrification.

Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats are calling for the full electrification of East West Rail, and for the Government to reverse its decision to break its promise to electrify the full Midland Mainline, which runs via Bedford. That line has only been electrified between London and Corby, meaning diesel and bi-mode trains to and from Sheffield and the East Midlands will continue to pass through Bedford Borough. Meanwhile, electrifying East West Rail during the first phase of construction from Oxford would mean a reduced noise and environmental impact from day one.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Michael Headley, Bedford Borough Council Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Railways, said "This report could not be clearer - we need electrification and we need it now. The case it lays out is absolutely overwhelming, and removes any possible excuses from the government for not electrifying East West Rail from day one. The government needs to do more than just talk about tackling climate change, we need to see action and that should include electrification of railways including the Midland Mainline and East West Rail.'

"Only by using conventional electrified rail will we maximise the benefits of taking traffic off the roads, in terms of the environmental impact both locally and in tackling climate change. That's why we'll keep pressing for an electrified East West Rail and Midland Mainline."

You can read the full report on the Railway Industry Association's website at https://www.riagb.org.uk/RIA/Newsroom/Publications%20Folder/Why_Rail_Electrification_Report.aspx