East Coast Mainline increases power supply with £216.2M contract, to optimise the passenger experience.jpg

East Coast Mainline increases power supply with £216.2M contract award

The East Coast Mainline (ECML) Power Supply Upgrade is to power forward into its second phase, bolstered by a £216.2M contract award for the Rail Electrification Alliance.


The Rail Electrification Alliance, comprised of VolkerRail, J Murphy & Sons, Jacobs, Systra, Siemens Mobility and Network Rail, is set to continue to upgrade the power capabilities of the ECML from Doncaster to Edinburgh, as part of its ambitious plans to transform and optimise one of the UK’s most popular passenger lines.

The ECML Power Supply Upgrade Project is part the £1.2 billion East Coast Upgrade programme. Once complete, the upgrade will deliver improved reliability and punctuality for passengers and will ensure the route has the capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.

The power upgrade project has been five years in the making and is part of a combined project value of more than £600m. This new contract will enable the programme to enter its second phase, in turn improving the route from London to Edinburgh.

The power supply capacity north of Doncaster has presented constraints to accommodating the future uplift in electric services; a direct result of the introduction of the new rolling stock and services. Whilst the power infrastructure at the southern section of the route was upgraded in the last few years, similar work is now needed at the northern section, which this project will provide.

This enhancement will be funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), in conjunction with and in support of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and will help deliver future timetable changes.

The existing traction power capability of the ECML will also require enhancements and upgrades. 

Modelling of the power availability against future demand signifies shortfalls at multiple locations along the ECML from Bawtry to Edinburgh, in turn requiring significant enhancement interventions. To tackle this, GRIP 3 Option Selection assessed and identified the most suitable and cost-effective combination of intervention solutions across the ECML between Bawtry and Edinburgh, in order to meet the demands of future timetable changes.

Rail Electrification Alliance, Project Alliance Board, commented: “The Power Supply Upgrade of the East Coast Mainline is a significant piece of work. We have been working together as an Alliance for the past five years and the team delivering the project have gone from strength to strength, continuing not only physical works during COVID-19 but also delivering a contract proposal which will secure the project for the next four years and deliver the power upgrades needed for the full route from London to Edinburgh.”

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “The power supply upgrade is a vital element of the East Coast Upgrade programme. It will help deliver passenger benefits,  enabling more trains to run and ensuring that journeys are reliable for passengers traveling on the route.”