East Midlands rail franchise officially changes hands

The running of a major train operator which runs services between Chesterfield and London has now officially changed hands. Abellio are now in control of the East Midlands rail franchise after recently being awarded an eight year contract

The franchise, known as East Midlands Railway, or EMR, will oversee the delivery of improvements to improve customers’ experience, improve rail connections and drive economic growth. 

EMR are set to make several changes including:

  • Replacement of the entire train fleet with more than 340 carriages. This includes 165 brand new bi-mode intercity carriages (33 trains) linking cities in the North and East Midlands to London St Pancras, and modern diesel trains improving East-West journeys
  • Investment of £20 million on stations with larger schemes at Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, and six stations to become ‘eco stations’.
  • More services and faster journey times on intercity routes and better regional and local services, especially at peak times and weekends
  • Improved connections and services to the main airports of East Midlands and London Luton
  • Doubling capacity into London St Pancras and 40% more peak time capacity into Nottingham through more services and longer trains.
  • Extension of smart and mobile ticketing and a flexible season ticket introduced in 2020 to reflect the changing working week.

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “Abellio’s exciting plans for East Midlands Railway will make a real difference to passengers, delivering state-of-the-art trains with more seats, station improvements and trialling hydrogen fuel cell technology to ensure that East Midlands Railway becomes one of the most environmentally-friendly in the UK.

“This investment will also lead to more punctual journeys for passengers and play a major role in building a railway that’s fit for the future.”

Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said: “Abellio is delighted to have been entrusted to operate East Midlands Railway and we’ve already started on our £600 million investment package to transform rail services across the East Midlands.” 

Julian Edwards, Managing Director of East Midlands Railway, said: “Today is a new era for rail services across the East Midlands.  We have already begun to deliver on our promises including new and better trains, improved stations and more services.  I’ve been really impressed by the employees I have already met across the network and, working together, the railways of the East Midlands will begin to look and feel very different to today.”

The start of the new franchise also bring a new distinctive ‘EMR’ brand and a range of instant improvements for customers including a Price Promise to ensure people obtain the best value fare and  more generous compensation when trains are late.   More cycle and car parking will be provided and smart ticketing will be rolled out by 2020.

More from Local