Dutch firm selected to run East Midlands railway franchise

Dutch firm Abellio has been announced as the successful bidder to operate the East Midlands Railway franchise.

The firm will take over the franchise from  Stagecoach from August 2019 until 2027.

Abellio says it will introduce new trains, entirely replacing the existing intercity fleet with “more reliable and comfortable” trains. The firm says it will implement an 80% increase in the number of morning peak seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St Pancras.

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.

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.”