Plans are being drawn up to extend the electrification of the Midland Mainline up to Market Harborough.
Under existing plans for the improvement of the route, electrification will extend north from London but stop at Kettering.
The Department for Transport (DFT) has now confirmed to Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough, that it will be extending electrification from Kettering up to Market Harborough as part of their £1.5 billion Midland Mainline programme.
Mr O’Brien has welcomed news that Network Rail has been asked to draw up detailed plans to extend rail electrification to Market Harborough station.
In response to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Mr O'Brien, the Department for Transport (DFT) confirmed that Network Rail has been instructed to design an extension of electrification infrastructure from Kettering to Market Harborough station.
Mr O'Brien said: “This is great news. I’ve been making the case for this to the Department for Transport for a number of months and I’m pleased to see they’ve agreed with the strength of the case put forward. While nothing is guaranteed, it is a big leap forwards that they are now drawing up a detailed design.
“This will give us quieter trains and less pollution from diesel trains stopping and starting here. It would also help improve journey times. I’d like to thank everyone who supported the campaign to extend electrification so far.
“If we can get electrification to come further north from Bedford all the way to Market Harborough, rather than stopping at Kettering as planned, that will also be a step towards getting the whole line electrified eventually.
“I have pointed out to ministers that the power supply for electrification north of Bedford will be at Braybrooke. Rather than running an expensive cable connection south from Braybrooke to overhead wires that end in Kettering, it would make more long-term sense to extend the planned overhead wires up all the way into Market Harborough.
"Diesel-only trains currently running on the Midland Mainline are to be replaced with so-called “bi-mode” trains over the coming years. These trains can run under electric power where lines are electrified, or diesel where lines are not. They are already in operation in other parts of the country. If rail electrification is extended north to market Harborough that will mean these bi-mode trains can run through the town in their quieter and cleaner electric mode."