Passengers between Kettering and Corby have begun using newly commissioned track and signalling following the completion of a £130 million project.
Since construction began in 2014, a significant amount of work has been carried out to improve the capacity, speed and resilience of the route.
Fourteen bridges and viaducts have been strengthened, 21km of track laid – including 12km of new track and renewal of 9km of existing track – 4km of drainage installed, 15km of railway embankment has been stabilised and 73km of cabling laid.
Further work will be delivered between Kettering and Corby to get the route ready for electric train services.
From 2020, this upgrade will enable improved long distance passenger services between Sheffield, Nottingham and London, as well as improved services between Corby, Kettering and London. There will also be more than 1,000 additional extra seats into London during peak time, an increase of around 50 per cent, as well as faster peak intercity journeys.
Whilst the full benefits of this work will arrive in 2020, the immediate benefits include the improved reliability for passengers, the removal of a temporary speed restriction, an improved diversionary route and the ability to accommodate freight containers.
Spencer Gibbens, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “This is a milestone moment for the Midland Main Line – which is undergoing its largest upgrade since being completed in 1870.
“Last week saw the final piece of this part of the project completed as the newly installed signalling equipment was tested and commissioned.”
This project is a key part of the £1 billion Midland Main Line upgrade.
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