Rail passengers in the East Midlands will benefit from better journeys, extra services, and cheaper fares – thanks to a new deal announced today (16 September 2015) by Rail Minister Claire Perry.
Under the deal, East Midlands Trains – which already has a strong track record for performance – will not only continue to run services between London, the East Midlands and parts of the north of England until March 2018, but will also deliver a host of improvements for passengers, backed by £13 million of investment.
The improvements include:
22 extra services between Nottingham and Newark Castle on Saturdays by December 2016 - this follows the creation last year of 24 extra services between Nottingham and Newark Castle on weekdays
timetable improvements that will mean faster journeys and more services between Nottingham and Lincoln on Saturdays
a freeze on all Anytime fares to London, with ticket prices remaining at the same level as now until 2017 - this is in addition to the government’s commitment to cap all other regulated rail fares at RPI inflation for the next 5 years
15 more automatic ticket machines installed across the network
better customer information with a new mobile app which will also allow ticket purchases - more information screens will also be installed at key stations including London St Pancras, Leicester, Derby and Sheffield
£1 million invested in improving accessibility at stations, along with 29 new accessible help points at unstaffed stations, linked to a 24-hour customer contact centre
a better passenger assistance scheme so that customers who need assistance only need to book 12 hours in advance, rather than 24 hours
an improved online compensation system for passengers who are delayed
Rail Minister Claire Perry said:
This is a great deal for East Midlands Trains customers, and will mean significantly better journeys for passengers travelling around the region.
This is another example of the work we’re doing to transform the UK’s railways as part of our long-term economic plan, with more than £38 billion being spent on the network between 2014 and 2019.
East Midlands Trains is also upgrading on-board Wi-Fi on London services to 4G, with the aim that this will be free to all passengers when the next fully-competed franchise starts from 2018. The operator is also extending the catering offer and improving the cleanliness of trains, and will work to expand its links with the community, including a schools education programme and work experience initiative.
Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, said:
This is a significant package of investment for customers travelling on East Midlands Trains, Britain’s most punctual long-distance train operator. It will build on what our team has achieved over the past 8 years and deliver further valuable improvements for the millions of passengers and many communities who rely on the East Midlands Trains network.
Britain’s railway is part of the fabric of our communities - that is why our plans include more opportunities for graduates and young people, new links with schools, greater investment in community rail, and improved training to help our employees deliver a first class service to customers.
The new East Midlands Trains franchise will also deliver a multi-million-pound return to the taxpayer to help fund the government’s ongoing investment programme for the UK rail network.
East Midlands Trains’ parent company Stagecoach Group will pay the government £150 million to run the franchise from October 2015 to March 2018. Around 26 million journeys are made on East Midlands Trains services every year.
As well as the improvements being delivered through the franchise, the government is also continuing work on improvements to provide faster journeys and more services on the Midland Mainline through capacity, track and station improvements. This includes construction work to increase capacity on the route between Kettering and Corby, which is currently underway. Work is also planned on a new station at Ilkeston in Derbyshire, which is benefiting from more than £6 million of government investment.
Other improvements to the rail network in the region include £150 million of completed improvements to Nottingham’s rail network, including the city’s redeveloped station.