Friday 10 July 2020

07 June 2018

Let's make the most of the new East Midlands Rail Franchise!

Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) has welcomed today’s publication of the Invitation To Tender (ITT) for the new East Midlands Rail Franchise as an opportunity to transform rail services across the region.

The ITT will provide the framework against which three companies (Abellio, Arriva Rail and Stagecoach) will make their bids for the new franchise, which will come into effect in late 2019.

TfEM has been working closely with the Department for Transport (DfT) on the franchise competition over the last 2 years to get the best outcome for passengers, businesses and local communities. As a result, the ITT includes key priorities championed by TfEM and East Midlands Councils (EMC), including:

    • Incentives for improved journey times for services on the Midland Main Line (MML), a key step towards regional aspirations (Leicester to London in 60, Nottingham in 90);
    • Significant improvements in capacity for journeys to London on the MML south of Corby;
    • Improvements to the quality of rolling stock elsewhere and incentives for faster and more efficient trains;
    • Improved early/late evening services;
    • Sunday service enhancements throughout the franchise;
    • Incentives to improve services on the Derby-Crewe corridor;
    • Incentives for improved seasonal services to Skegness and for special events (e.g. Nottingham Goose Fair, Lincoln Christmas Market, major sporting events);
    • Incentives for improved inter-regional connectivity, for example to Cambridge, Norwich and Sheffield and beyond;
    • Funding for station accessibility improvements (£2.5 million), focussed on small and medium sized stations, with incentives for additional station enhancements;
    • Funding for Community Rail Partnerships;
    • High quality WiFi;
    • A roll out of smart ticketing, multi-modal & value for money options for commuters travelling fewer than 5 days a week;
    • A neutral approach to branding independent of the franchise process;
    • An ongoing role for EMC/TfEM in the management of the franchise once awarded to ensure it delivers for local people. In addition, there will be incentives in the ITT for the franchise to deliver:
    • Improved services to serve East Midlands Airport and London Luton Airport;
    • Maintaining connectivity between non-London stations on the MML; and
    • Re-instating peak services between Wellingborough and Bedford lost as a result of the new Thameslink timetable

Sir Peter Soulsby, Chair of TfEM said:  

“Through TfEM, councils have been working in partnership with the DfT to ensure we get the best result for passengers, businesses and local communities out of the franchise process. The franchise ITT provides a real opportunity to transform rail services across the East Midlands. We are a growing and prosperous region - and we need rail services comparable to the best elsewhere in England to fulfil our economic potential.”

“The ITT also confirms that electrification of the Midland Mainline to 125 mph standard will extend as far as Market Harborough - which means that over 50% of MML will be electrified by 2023. This will rise to 62% once one the section between Clay Cross and Sheffield is completed for HS2. As bi-mode trains are so much cheaper to run under electric wires, we think there is a good economic case for a program of ‘incremental electrification’ of the remaining line, providing that the capital costs can be properly controlled.”

Cllr Richard Davies, Vice Chair of TfEM said:

“I am particularly pleased to see the Government’s commitment to improve Sunday and evening services, improved summer services to Skegness and for special events like the Lincoln Christmas Market. Rail use in Lincolnshire has increased significantly over recent years, and the new franchise provides the basis for that growth to continue.”

“The approach to the ‘neutral branding’ is also welcome and should help to build recognition and public confidence in the railway, and I am very keen to make sure that we make the most of the potential for new forms of ‘smart ticketing’.”

Cllr Roger Blaney, EMC Franchise Lead Member said:

“We have met with all the bidders to discuss our ideas and have been impressed with the level of interest shown so far. We look forward to further dialogue over the coming weeks. We are particularly keen to explore options to improve Derby-Crewe services, the potential for an enhanced program of station improvements, and long term support for Community Rail Partnerships.”

“We are also looking forward to establishing an ongoing role for TfEM in the shared management of the franchise with the Department for Transport to ensure that the new operator delivers for local people and businesses.”

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Notes to Editors

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.

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.



For further information please contact:

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

Phone: (01664) 502641 Mobile: 07795 060943 


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