About the Midland Main Line Upgrade project

  • The Midland Main Line was completed in 1870 and is the name given to the railway connecting London with Sheffield via Kettering/Corby, Leicester and Nottingham.

  • The Midland Main Line Upgrade is a series of inter-related improvements being made to one of the oldest railway lines in the UK.
    It represents a £1.5billion investment in the Midland Main Line that will enable better, more comfortable and efficient journeys from 2020.

  • Upgrades include laying additional tracks, station improvements, bridge reconstructions, modern signalling and electrification of the line between Bedford and Corby.

  • It can be. Noise levels are dependent on the type of work being carried out, a person’s distance from the worksite and local topography.
    We work closely with local authority environmental health departments and aim to minimise the noise we make as much as possible, but we cannot eliminate it entirely.

    We also write to neighbours living nearby to advise them of the type of work, equipment we will be using and the dates/times of the work so that they are pre-warned of possible disruption.

    Also, since work often takes place at night the noise can be more noticeable.

  • Electrified passenger services will be possible from December 2020, whilst 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.

  • 49 structures will have undergone significant work by 2020.
    Some structures have been repaired and strengthened to carry the extra weight and traffic of the additional railway lines we’re building.
    Others needed to be demolished and/or reconstructed to ensure that they allow sufficient safety clearance for Overhead Line Equipment (electrified wires) to pass safely beneath.
    Some also require work to the be carried out to raise the height of the parapets (bridge walls over the railway) to prevent people or objects coming into contact with live equipment.

  • Track and signalling work together to keep trains moving safely. The new lines we build need new signalling while some existing signalling is older and needs to be replaced with newer, modern systems. Combined, the new systems help to provide a better railway for passengers and freight.

  • Overhead Line Equipment (or OLE) is the name used to describe the overhead wires and supporting steel masts that distribute electricity along the railway at 25,000 volts.

    The steel masts are mounted upon foundations spaced between 40-70 metres apart and are approx. 8-9 metres in height. The electrified wires are approx. 4.7 metres above the track.

  • Such a major upgrade on one of the oldest railway lines in the UK is a significant civil engineering challenge. However, as much work as possible is done without disrupting passenger services – which means we can often only carry out work at night, weekends and on Bank Holidays.

    To deliver work efficiently we pre-assemble components in advance, for example bridge reconstructions use pre-cast concrete pieces, enabling them to be lifted into position swiftly and efficiently.


  • An additional railway line was created between Kettering and Corby (which opened in February 2018). One is now being added between Bedford and Kettering.
    Together they increase capacity on the line creating the capability to operate 6 trains to London per hour, up from the current 5.
    This will unlock over 1000 additional seats an hour during peak times (an increase of more than 50%).

  • Once the works have been completed not only will our customers benefit from additional seats during peak times, there will be a range of wider benefits including quieter trains, a more reliable and quicker service, as well as station improvements such as extended platforms, improved accessibility (at selected stations) and refurbished facilities.

What's happening at our stations?

  • Platforms are being lengthened at Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and Bedford Stations to enable longer trains with more seats to call at them in the future.

    At Kettering and Wellingborough Station we are refurbishing platform canopies as we trim them to ensure safe clearance from the Overhead Line Equipment (electrified wires).

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

    At Market Harborough new longer platforms will be built that improve access by reducing stepping distances onto trains. Station accessibility will also be improved with a new footbridge featuring lifts and a new car park is being constructed that will offer 500 spaces – 200 more than at present.

  • Yes, whilst construction works are taking place there may be some changes to station access or facilities at certain locations across our network. You can find more information about the changes within your region by selecting a station from the drop down menu above.

  • No, there will be no station closures on the whilst these improvement works are taking place.

How will these changes affect my journey?

  • Whilst these improvement works are taking place, there are periods of planned disruption that may impact the frequency and service level we are able to offer. You can select a station from the drop down menu above for more information.

    Alternatively you can visit: www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk for the latest journey information, or for live updates, follow us on Twitter @EMTrains.

  • You can visit: www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk for the latest timetable and travel information, or for live updates, follow us on Twitter @EMTrains.

  • There are no changes to ticketing and restrictions whilst the improvement works are taking place; however our advice is to check before you travel as there may be extended journey times, diversionary routes or rail replacement services in operation across selected dates.

  • You can select a station from the drop down menu above for more information about rail replacement services from your location.

    Alternatively for the latest timetable and travel information, you can visit: www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk

  • Through our Delay Repay scheme, you can claim compensation for any delays over 30 minutes. For more information, visit: www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/information/Delay-Repay/

Keeping you informed

  • Network Rail works with train and station operators to hold public events, distribute leaflets, carry out mail drops, issue press releases to the media and place advertising to keep people informed.