New East Midlands Railway contract 'exciting', says Chamber
Bosses at the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce have said the new contract for East Midlands Trains is "vitally important" for the region.
Firm Abellio has been announced as the successful bidder to operate the East Midlands Railway franchise, responsible for delivering new trains, smart ticketing and more frequent services for passengers, as the contract goes up for tender in August.
Abellio 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 per cent increase in the number of morning peak seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St Pancras.
It is understood Abellio will trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line and run zero-carbon pilots at six stations along the route.
There are plans to oversee the introduction of 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 £16.8million, 916 extra car park spaces and 1,050 cycle spaces - and a ticket buying facilities in place at all stations.
The new improvements to the contract have been welcomed by East Midlands Chamber.
Chris Hobson, director of policy, said: “The East Midlands Railway network is vitally important for business, providing essential connections beyond London and Sheffield and also across the country beyond Lincoln and Stoke.
“The new franchise includes exciting plans to improve passenger comfort, seat numbers, free wifi, more car and cycle parking and new trains, including trialling hydrogen-powered stock.
"We will continue, however, to press the Department for Transport for full electrification of the Midland Main Line so that we can enjoy lighter, cleaner, greener trains and closer integration with HS2 along the route.
“We look forward to working with the new franchisee to build on the positive work that’s been done in the region in recent times and deliver a service fit for business growth over the next decade.”
The new contract for East Midlands Railway requires plans to be put forward for the extension of the Robin Hood Line to Edwinstowe, Ollerton and Warsop.
It currently runs from Nottingham to Hucknall, Kirkby, Sutton, Mansfield and Worksop.
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