Abellio awarded the East Midlands Railway franchise

Image showing Class 153 from the outgoing East Midlands Trains franchise

10th April 2019

Abellio have today been announced as the winning bidder for the East Midlands Railway franchise, with a responsibility for delivering new trains, smart ticketing and more frequent services for passengers starting in August this year. The new operator will oversee the introduction of brand new trains, entirely replacing the existing intercity fleet with more reliable and comfortable trains. Passengers will benefit from an 80% increase in the number of morning peak seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St Pancras.

Passengers will also be able to take advantage of faster journey times over long-distances as well as a new express service from Corby to London. An improved delay repay compensation scheme will also be introduced along with flexipass tickets to provide better value fares. Abellio will also trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line and will run zero-carbon pilots at 6 stations along the route.

The following will be overseen by Abellio within the duration of the franchise:

  • more flexible and convenient smart ticketing options
  • free wifi and high quality mobile connectivity on board services
  • improved delay repay compensation for all passengers
  • a stations improvement fund of £16.8 million, including £6.9 million for accessibility improvements
  • £9.4 million of investment to deliver commercial and customer service improvements at stations
  • 916 extra car park spaces and 1,050 cycle spaces
  • ticket buying facilities in place at all stations


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, trialling 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, said:

"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, maximising 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."

Author: Darren Porter
Image: Department for Transport

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