Abellio UK, recently awarded the new eight-year East Midlands Railway (EMR) franchise by the Department for Transport, has today confirmed that it has now awarded a £400 million contract to Hitachi Rail to build a pioneering new fleet of intercity trains.
The new state of the art intercity trains will start operating in 2022 and will serve the main cities and towns on the Midland Main Line including Sheffield, Chesterfield, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Lincoln as well as Kettering and London St Pancras.
The new trains will offer significant advances on the existing fleet, with passengers benefiting from more seats and modern interiors. Abellio has ordered 33 five-carriage trains, which will regularly be operated in 10-carriage formations. The trains will include features that passengers and local stakeholders have said they want to see, including air conditioning, free Wi-Fi throughout, plug sockets and better passenger information screens. There will be an improved and more consistent ‘seven day’ catering service in both 1st and Standard Class.
Commenting on the order, Dominic Booth, Abellio (UK) Managing Director said:
“These new trains form the centrepiece of our ambitious plans for a complete replacement of all the trains on the East Midlands Railway and are a more than £600 million investment to really improve the region’s railway. They will respond to what our passengers have told us they want with more frequent services, faster journeys between the East Midlands and London, and provide more capacity with 80% more seats into London in the morning peak”.
Karen Boswell, Managing Director for Hitachi Rail UK, welcomed the positive news for British railway workers: “Today’s announcement will be welcomed in workshops and engineering centres across the country, thanks to our large network of UK suppliers. Our train factory in County Durham sources train parts from across the country, including a significant amount from the region where the new trains will run.
“Hitachi is delighted that EMR passengers will soon be receiving the very latest model of our new intercity trains, which are already proving popular and increasing satisfaction among passengers in other parts of the country”.
Mark Swindell, Chief Executive Officer, Rock Rail, which is financing the trains, said:
“Rock Rail is delighted to be working with Abellio and Hitachi and our institutional investor partners to bring these trains to the region and deliver step changes in the travelling experience for the people of the East Midlands.
“This new state-of-the-art Hitachi fleet represents Rock Rail’s fourth new rolling stock deal in the UK, and across all deals combined sees investment by the institutional investor sector of around £2.5bn in the UK railway. This long term, highly competitive funding enables significantly enhanced value for money to rail passengers and tax payers over the life of the trains, along with significant improvements in passenger, environmental and operational features.”