The graphic image by Leicester Friends of the Earth

In a bid to make more trains electric campaigners are taking a giant plug on a tour of the country in the hope the government will reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.

On Saturday, September 9, environmental campaigners will board a train in London, continuing in a relay all the way to Sheffield.

This is being done after the Government made the decision made in July to cancel plans to electrify the Midland main line beyond Kettering.

The giant plug will be at Chesterfield station between 15.27 and 16.03 with representatives from Transition Chesterfield, Chesterfield Climate Alliance, Chesterfield Cycle Campaign there to greet its arrival.

Lisa Hopkinson from Transition Chesterfield said: “Diesel trains contribute to air pollution, which is estimated to cause 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. Switching to electric trains would lead to substantial improvements in air quality in Chesterfield. Electrifying the railways would also reduce the carbon footprint of travel because electricity generation is rapidly becoming cleaner.”

Campaigners will be collecting signatures on a petition asking the Government not to go back on their promise to electrify the railways. The petition was created by two national organisations, 10:10 and the Campaign for Better Transport, and it already has almost 9,000 signatures.

Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action said: “Electric trains are a no brainer - but by slamming the brakes on rail electrification, the Government is turning their backs on communities up and down the UK who could benefit from this.”

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, added: “The Government’s decision to break their promise on the electrification of the East Midlands main line is bad for the commuters, businesses and the environment in our region. I wrote to the Transport Secretary again last week to continue to make the case for electrification of Midland main line.

Report from Derbyshire Times: