East Midlands rail electrification cost estimated at £500m

The electrification of the East Midlands rail mainline would cost about £500m to complete, a Labour MP says.

The Midland Mainline is used by diesel trains while the East and West Coast mainlines are electrified.

Leicester South MP John Ashworth said the potenial cost emerged during talks with the Department for Transport.

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said the government supported "the progressive electrification" of the network.

Mr Ashworth said the project was "vital" for the regional economy.

'More efficient'

Mrs Villiers said: "The government have made it clear that we see the progressive electrification of the rail network as an important part of our transport and environmental policy."

She added that the government would give further details on its rail industry plans in July.

"This project would lead to economic stimulus and to economic growth and immediate jobs now in Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and all the way up to Sheffield," Mr Ashworth, a Labour MP, said.

"I am calling on the minister to strike while the iron is hot and get on with it."

Transport analyst Christian Wolmar said trains on an electrified line would be cleaner, more energy efficient and faster.

He said the major cities in the East Midlands would "benefit enormously" from the project.

Electric trains already travel on the Midland Mainline up to Bedford but, after that, only diesel engines run on the track.

Network Rail has said the electrification of the route between London and the East Midlands could happen by the end of the decade.

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