To help meet the challenge of rising demand, the Midland Main Line is undergoing the largest upgrade since it was completed in 1870. These upgrades include laying additional tracks, station improvements, bridge reconstructions, improved signalling and further electrification of the line between Bedford and Corby to power modern, quieter and greener trains.

The Midland Main Line Upgrade will enable better, more comfortable and efficient journeys from 2020.

Line improvements

An additional railway line was opened between Kettering and Corby in February 2018. A second new line is now being added between Bedford and Kettering.

The additional tracks create the capability to operate 6 trains per hour to London, up from the current 5. This will unlock over 1000 additional seats an hour during peak times (an increase of more than 50%).


Electrified passenger services will be possible from December 2020 and a new fleet of bi-mode trains is planned for introduction in 2022.

Bi-mode trains, when in electric mode, are quieter than diesel trains – benefitting both passengers and people living close to the railway. They are also better for the environment than diesel trains – saving fuel and helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

Station improvements

Platforms are being lengthened at Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and Bedford to enable longer trains with more seats to call at them in the future. At Kettering and Wellingborough we are also refurbishing platform canopies as we trim them back to ensure safe clearance from the Overhead Line Equipment.

In addition, we are improving station lighting, CCTV and public announcement systems. 

At Market Harborough, new longer platforms will be built which will improve accessibility and convenience for passengers by reducing the gap between the platform and the train. Station accessibility will also be improved with a new footbridge and lifts as well as a new car park which will offer 500 spaces – 200 more than at present.


Increasing capacity also unlocks the potential to move more freight by rail, whilst altering bridges and improving station platforms creates space for the larger shipping containers used by freight operating companies. That means fewer lorries on the roads and a boost for local economies.