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Electrification milestone reached in Midland Main Line upgrade

The new substation on the Midland Main Line at Low Meadow farm, north of Luton.

Network Rail has announced a “significant milestone” in the Midland Main Line upgrade project, as a new substation has been installed along the route. 

The national rail infrastructure body say this is a key step forward in the electrification of the railway from London to Kettering and Corby via Bedford – and key progress towards Network Rail’s aims of creating a more modern and reliable railway for the benefit of local communities and the wider economy.

The substation, installed at Low Meadow farm, north of Luton, is the first of eight new substations to be installed and will supply power to overhead line equipment. 

A significant amount of work has taken place on the Midland Main Line upgrade over the past few years, with thousands of foundation piles installed, as well as masts which will carry overhead wires. Dozens of bridges have also been reconstructed to allow for the clearances for the overhead line equipment. 

Rob McIntosh, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “This marks a major milestone in the Midland Main Line upgrade. This exciting project will deliver improved services for people when electric services start to run north of Bedford.

“Work has taken place along the whole route, including major upgrades in Derby and Market Harborough, which is creating a more modern and reliable railway which will better meet the needs of the communities and economies our railway serves."

As part of the project, Network Rail has also launched a major safety campaign to highlight the dangers of trespassing on electrified railways. The campaign stresses that electric wires are “Always On, So Always Stay Off”. A safety film, entitled 18, produced as part of the campaign, has already been viewed almost four million times. 

Click here to view the Network Rail safety film.