Commissioning new substations to close MIdland main line over two weekends

Work to commission two substations will close the Midland main line over two weekends in July 2020.

Two new substations on the Midland main line between Bedford and Ampthill will help to improve resilience on the railway, as well as provide the power needed to allow more trains to run in the future. 

The new substations will be commissioned and tested over two weekends, 4/5 and 11/12 July 2020.

At the same time, work will also take place to improve the track on the route, as well as to install further overhead line equipment. To allow the work over these weekends to take place safely, some lines on the Midland main line will be closed.

On the first weekend, trains won’t run between Market Harborough and Loughborough, while on the second weekend there will be no trains between Market Harborough and Luton, affecting Thameslink services as well as East Midlands Railway.

Bus replacement services will run in place of trains over these two weekends.

Gavin Crook, Network Rail.

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.”

The £1.5 billion Midland main line upgrade is extending electrification of the line northwards from Bedford to Corby and Market Harborough, with a view to taking it even further north in the long term. Other work, including the resignalling of Derby, is also part of the programme.

Lisa Angus, East Midlands Railway.

Lisa Angus, transition and projects director for East Midlands Railway, commented “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”. 

Jenny Saunders, Thameslink.

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.”

Electrification is being pushed northwards from Bedford to Corby and Market Harborough.

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