PLANS to extend electric train services on the Midland Main Line north of Bedford to Kettering and Corby seem set to be delayed by up to six months, until the spring of 2021.
The improved service, which is planned to provide a half-hourly frequency between London and Corby, should have been launched this December.
However, this year’s pandemic has delayed parts of the scheme, although work is going ahead on the Midland Main Line over the next two weekends when engineers will test the electrical system, upgrade sections of line and improve the surfaces of the platforms at Wellingborough and Kettering. There will be some changes to train services as a result, particularly because of the work on the track.
In a joint statement. Network Rail’s East Midlands route and East Midlands Railway said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on businesses and industries – including the railway. As a result, the benefits to EMR passengers we were due to deliver in December 2020 are now planned for May 2021.
‘This is due to the requirements of social distancing delaying the electrification of the line between Bedford and Corby as well as the ability to deliver safety-critical staff training. There have also been supply chain issues, complicated by coronavirus, which has affected the whole industry, including delays to the cascade of electric units.
‘We are all immensely disappointed by this delay, but given the unprecedented impact of coronavirus and our commitment to ensure major changes in train services are delivered safely and effectively, we have no choice.’