Saturday 08 August 2020

10 April 2019

A new era for train travel in the East Midlands!

Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) has strongly welcomed transformational improvements to rolling stock and rail services that will be unlocked following today’s award of the next East Midlands Rail Franchise.

The new franchise has been awarded to Abellio, starting on 18th August 2019 and lasting for up to 10 years. Abellio will operate train services under a new permanent ‘East Midlands Railway’ brand.

Based on the previously published invitation to tender (ITT), the new franchise will deliver:

  • A major investment in rolling stock, including a fleet of new intercity bi-mode trains – which will also create business opportunities for the East Midlands’ world class rail sector;
  • A significant increase in the number of seats on peak London services and improved journey times, as well as improvements to capacity and comfort on local and regional services;
  • More Sunday services and early and late running trains – including to the Lincolnshire Coast;
  • Significant investment in and around stations;
  • Better planning for services to visitor attractions and to major events, and more support for Community Rail Partnerships which work to promote under-used rail lines; and
  • Much needed improved ticketing, compensation arrangements and free wifi on trains and at stations for passengers.

TfEM has been working alongside the Department for Transport over the last three years to secure the best outcome for communities and businesses across the East Midlands, and through a separate process liaising with all three bidders for the rail franchise.


A spokesperson for TfEM said:

“We very much welcome today’s decision which paves the way for transformational improvements to our region’s rail services and which vindicates the TfEM Board’s approach to working in partnership with the Department for Transport on the franchise competition.

The TfEM Board is keen to continue and develop this partnership over the coming years to ensure the new franchise delivers. Abellio and the Department for Transport have listened to the region’s needs and through today’s announcement have committed to act”

“The TfEM Board looks forward to seeing much needed investment in rolling stock and investment in and around local stations.”

“The East Midlands world class rail sector is well placed to deliver this investment, and TfEM would welcome a flexible and locally sourced bi-mode solution that could be converted to full electric traction if the remaining 38% of the Midland Main Line is electrified.”

“The TfEM Board strongly welcomes the service improvements previously announced in the ITT which, over the course of the franchise, will deliver more train services, provide faster and better services, especially in the evenings and on Sundays.”

“Together this investment will provide passengers with more attractive train services, less crowded trains and more choice about how they travel. This investment will also support the continued growth in the region’s economy and the delivery of more jobs and homes for local people”

“The TfEM Board looks forward to meeting the Abellio team at its next meeting in June to discuss the opportunities presented by the new franchise in more detail.”


Notes for editors:

Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) brings together senior leaders from the region’s local transport authorities under the auspices of East Midlands Councils. It provides regional leadership on strategic transport issues for the East Midlands.

East Midlands Councils is the consultative forum for local authorities in the region. It provides support to Councils to improve their services and is a strong voice for the East Midlands.

Link to DfT media release:


For further information please contact:

Andrew Pritchard, Director of Policy & Infrastructure, East Midlands Councils

Phone: (01664) 502641 Mobile: 07795 060943


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