September 16, 2015

DfT awards interim East Midlands franchise

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DfT awards interim East Midlands franchise Keith Barrow

BRITAIN's rail minister Mrs Claire Perry announced on September 16 that the Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded an interim contract for the East Midlands franchise to the current operator, Stagecoach Group subsidiary East Midlands Trains (EMT).

The direct award contract begins on October 18 and runs until March 2018 and the DfT has an option to extend the franchise by up to a year. EMT forecasts it will pay a premium of around £150m to the DfT over the two year five-month duration of the franchise.

EMT plans to invest £13m in the franchise with measures including:

  • A freeze on anytime fares to London until 2017
  • Half-hourly Nottingham - Newark Castle services on Saturdays by December 2016 (half-hourly frequency introduced last year on weekdays) and faster Saturday services between Nottingham and Lincoln
  • Launch of a new mobile app, upgraded onboard 4G connectivity and 15 minutes free Wi-Fi in standard class on services to and from London
  • Extra cleaning staff on trains and at stations
  • Improved online compensation system for delays, and
  • Accessibility and security improvements.

 

According to the current franchising schedule, the DfT plans to begin tendering for a new long-term franchise next July and the contract will be signed in October 2017.

In the 2014-15 financial year EMT carried 25.5 million passengers and operated 22.2 million timetabled train-km on its 1550km network. The company serves 89 stations, operating inter-city services on Midland Main Line from London to Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield as well as regional and commuter services in central, northwest, and eastern England.

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