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Abellio wins East Midlands franchise

Abellio will operate the East Midlands franchise from August 18.

The Department for Transport announced the company will replace Stagecoach with an eight-year deal that runs until 2027 on April 10.

The new franchise, to be known as East Midlands Railway, will receive new trains that will help reduce journey times and add more peak-time seats on the Midland Main Line. There will be more than £17 million worth of station improvements while there is a commitment to trials of hydrogen fuel cell trains and zero-carbon pilot schemes at six stations.

A new express service will be introduced from Corby to St Pancras International, and Abellio will also introduce improved delay repay compensation and ‘Flexipass’ tickets.

Secretary of State for Transport 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: “We look forward to this franchise driving economic growth and delivering significant benefits for passengers.

“Abellio will invest £600m 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.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 877, published on April 24, and available digitally on iPad and Kindle from April 20.

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