Today, Abellio has been announced as the successful bidder to run the East Midlands Railway franchise for 8 years, from 18th August 2019 until 22nd August 2027.
Abellio East Midlands will oversee the introduction of brand new trains, replacing it’s aging intercity fleet in it’s entirety; as well as being responsible for delivering smart ticketing as well as a more frequent service for passengers.
Passengers are set to benefit from 80% more seats between Nottingham, Lincoln, and London St Pancras. Passengers will also see faster journey times over its long-distance routes, as well as the introduction of a new express service from Corby, through to Luton, and on to London, an improved delay repay scheme, and ‘flexipass’ tickets aimed at providing better value for money.
The East Midlands Railway franchise will also be at the forefront of the Government’s commitment to deliver a cleaner and greener rail network.
Abellio are set to trial new hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Mainline.
Other improvements will include:
- free Wi-Fi onboard services,
- a stations improvement fund of £16.8 million, including £6.9 million for accessibility improvements,
- 916 extra car park spaces and 1,050 cycle spaces,
- ticket buying facilities in place at all stations served by EMR
The news of Abellio being awarded the East Midlands franchise comes after news that both Stagecoach and Virgin Trains have been disqualified from the bidding processes of both the East Midlands and West Coast Partnership franchises.
What did the officials say?
Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling said
“Improving the experience for passengers is at the heart of this new franchise. Abellio will deliver state-of-the-art new trains, upgraded ticketing systems and improvements to stations.
“Through zero-carbon pilot schemes, trialing hydrogen fuel cell trains and delivering more seats on modern, spacious trains, the new franchise will also play a major role in building a railway fit for the future.”
Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK added
“Abellio is proud to have been selected as the Winning Bidder for the East Midlands franchise. We look forward to this franchise driving economic growth and delivering significant benefits for passengers.
“Abellio will invest £600 million in improvements to trains and stations, maximizing the effect of the government’s £1.5 billion upgrade of the Midland Main Line, to make journeys easier, more reliable and comfortable for our passengers.
“Closer collaboration between East Midlands Railway and Network Rail will ensure that track and train are aligned to deliver vital enhancements to infrastructure and to put the interests of passengers first.”