All aboard for faster trains from Sheffield to London

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Journey times on the rail line between Sheffield and London are being speeded up from Monday.

The average time is being cut by seven minutes as a result of a £70m programme to upgrade the track. Fastest trains will take two hours as part of a new timetable.

Almost 160 miles of track on the line have been improved, with trains able to run at 125 mph on parts of the Midland Main Line in a programme driven by East Midlands Trains and Network Rail.

East Midlands Trains managing director David Horne said: “Faster journeys are vital for economic growth and this major investment in track and signalling will help us to provide faster and more reliable journeys for our passengers travelling to London.

“These latest improvements to our timetable highlight just how much service levels have improved since franchising began in 1996. We’re already offering double the number of services every day between Sheffield and London, and from Monday the average journey time will drop to two hours and nine minutes, a reduction of almost 20 minutes from 1996.

Local business leaders and the council have been pressing for improvements in advance of Network Rail’s plans to electrify the Midland Main Line between Bedford and Sheffield, which would reduce journey times further.

The current strategy is to electrify the line to Corby by 2017, to Leicester, Derby and Nottingham in 2019 and to Sheffield in 2020.

By 2032, Sheffield is due to be part of the High Speed Two link between Birmingham and Leeds, which offers the prospect of Sheffield being 69 minutes away from London.