Electric trains will not be running between St Pancras International and Corby from this December, as had been planned.
Network Rail has confirmed that the electrification project is behind schedule due to COVID-19. It is now planned for East Midlands Railway to start using electric trains from the May 2021 timetable change.
However, senior sources close to the project have suggested that Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps and Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris have asked if the planned December 2020 services could start earlier than May next year. RAIL has been told that March has been discussed as a possible launch.
A joint statement from NR and EMR said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on businesses and industries across the UK– including the railway. As a result, the benefits to EMR passengers we were due to deliver in December 2020 have been moved back to 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.”
- For the FULL story, read RAIL 910, published on July 29, and available digitally from July 25.