Seventeen months after the first Meridian reached 125 mph on the Midland Main Line, as part of a testing programme to determine the effects higher speeds would have on the track infrastructure, East Midlands Trains has launched regular 125 mph services.
Long regarded as a Cinderella line because of its relatively slow journey times the new line speeds mean passengers reach London from Derby in 88 minutes and from Nottingham in 91 minutes – a tad short of the ‘Nottingham in 90’ aspiration.
The £70 million project was carried out by Network Rail in partnership with East Midlands Trains and involved upgrading 159 miles of track. Large parts of the route have had their line speed increased from 110 mph to 120 mph. Trains are now able to reach 125 mph around Radlett and Leagrave, between Harlington and Sharnbrook, around Wymington and north of Loughborough on the northbound line and south of Syston on the southbound.
The initial test train was used to study the aerodynamic effects and pressure waves created when the train ran through Ampthill tunnel and to examine the effects on the driver’s view of the line and signals when travelling at 125 mph.