East Midlands Railway - A
East Midlands Railway - A
East Midlands Railway or EMR, legal name Abellio East Midlands Limited is a train operating company in England, owned by Transport UK Group, and is the current operator of the East Midlands franchise.
During April 2019, the franchise was awarded to Abellio; accordingly, on 18 August 2019, EMR took over operations from East Midlands Trains (EMT) on 18 August 2019. Services were divided into three brands, EMR InterCity for long-distance services from London St Pancras, EMR Regional for services across the East Midlands, and EMR Electrics for the outer suburban London St Pancras to Corby service.
As a part of the franchise commitments, EMR placed an order for 33 new bi-mode Class 810 Aurora high speed train sets to replace both the Class 180 and Class 222 units. Furthermore, preexisting Class 170 multiple units would be sourced from other operators to replace the aging Class 153, Class 156, and Class 158 sets.
During early 2020, passenger numbers and ticket revenues collapsed following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the original franchise agreement being initially suspended before being replaced entirely. On 16 May 2021, EMR Connect services between Corby and London St Pancras were launched, permitting EMR to withdraw its last Intercity 125s.
On 19 June 2021, EMR Regional services were cut to enable the timetable to run effectively. EMR was one of several train operators impacted by the 2022-2023 United Kingdom railway strikes. During February 2023, Transport UK Group concluded a management buyout of Abellio's United Kingdom business, which included EMR. In May 2023, EMR withdrew the last of its Class 156 and Class 180 multiple units. During 2024, the EMR InterCity services will transition to the Class 810 Aurora fleet.
East Midlands Railway History
East Midlands Railway Background
In March 2017, the Department for Transport announced that Arriva, a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, and incumbent Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the next East Midlands franchise. Abellio was also shortlisted for the franchise during February 2018.
In April 2018, FirstGroup and Trenitalia pulled out of the bidding process, their stated reason for doing so was to focus on the West Coast Partnership franchise.
During April 2019, it was announced that the franchise has been awarded to Abellio, with East Midlands Railway (EMR) to take over the franchise from East Midlands Trains (EMT) on 18 August 2019 for a period of eight years, rival bidder Stagecoach had been disqualified from the process because its submission failed to meet employee pension obligations.
East Midlands Railway Restructuring and Franchise Suspension
In June 2019, Abellio revealed its branding and colour scheme for EMR, which featured distinct purple and white colours that reflected the heritage of the East Midlands. The company also confirmed that it would divide the franchise’s services into three segments:
During April 2021, it was announced that EMR Electrics would be rebranded as EMR Connect.
Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a resulting collapse in both passenger numbers and ticket revenues in March 2020, the franchise agreement was suspended and replaced by an Emergency Measure Agreement for six months under which the Department for Transport assumed responsibility for all revenues and costs and EMR was instead paid a management fee.
This arrangement was superseded by an Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) under which the original franchise agreement was terminated. At the time, it was announced that the EMR franchise would operate until March 2022.
In October 2021, the DfT issued an updated prior information notice that confirmed that the ERMA period would be extended until 16 October 2022. During October 2022, it was announced that EMR had received a direct award of a four-year National Rail Contract, the terms of which included the option of extending it for a further period of up to four years.
East Midlands Railway Industrial Action and Ownership Change
EMR was one of several train operators impacted by the 2022-2023 United Kingdom railway strikes, which was the first national rail strike in the UK for three decades.
Its workers were amongst those who participated in industrial action due to a dispute over pay and working conditions. On multiple occasions, EMR has requested that the travelling public avoid using its services on certain dates due to these strikes.
During February 2023, Transport UK Group concluded a management buyout of Abellio's United Kingdom business, which included EMR.
East Midlands Railway Services
EMR operates commuter services from London St Pancras to Corby, as well as InterCity services from London St Pancras along the Midland Main Line to Nottingham and Sheffield with limited extensions to Lincoln. EMR also operate the local East Midlands services and inter regional services to Liverpool and Norwich (Express service).
Services from Nottingham to Liverpool Lime Street were to transfer to another operator during the life of the franchise, although following a review by the DfT, this will no longer take place; the service instead being split at Nottingham as intended but remaining with EMR. The Barton line was expected to transfer from Northern in 2019 but this was delayed until May 2021.
On 19 June 2021, EMR Regional services were cut to enable the timetable to run effectively. Although EMR stated that 85% of services were still running, there was still an impact to local commuter services.
Contactless payment cards can be used between London St Pancras and Luton Airport Parkway.
Over the course of the franchise, several planned timetable changes are to be made:
As of May 2023, East Midlands Railway's off-peak services Monday-Friday include:
East Midlands Railway EMR InterCity
Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough (1tph), East Midlands Parkway (1tph), Beeston (1tph)
2 trains per day London-bound start from Lincoln, calling at Hykeham, Swinderby (1tpd), Collingham, Newark Castle, Lowdham (1tpd) and Fiskerton (1tpd). One train serves Swinderby and Lowdham, and the other serves Fiskerton.
Leicester, Loughborough (1tph), East Midlands Parkway (1tph), Long Eaton (1tph), Derby, Chesterfield
EMR Connect / Luton Airport Express
Luton Airport Parkway, Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering
Beeston, Attenborough (irregular), Long Eaton, Spondon (irregular), Derby, Duffield, Belper, Ambergate, Whatstandwell, Cromford, Matlock Bath
Alsager, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, Longton, Blythe Bridge, Uttoxeter, Tutbury & Hatton, Derby, Long Eaton, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton, Lowdham, Bleasby (irregular), Fiskerton
Syston, Sileby, Barrow-upon-Soar, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Newark Castle, Collingham, Swinderby, Hykeham
Syston, Sileby, Barrow-upon-Soar, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Newark Castle, Collingham, Swinderby, Hykeham, Lincoln, Market Rasen, Barnetby, Habrough
2 trains per day extend to Cleethorpes.
Collingham, Swinderby, Hykeham
2 trains per day originate from Peterborough, see below.
Radcliffe (1tp2h), Bingham, Bottesford (1tp2h), Grantham, Sleaford, Heckington, Boston, Wainfleet
Radcliffe and Bottesford are served by the same trains.
Bulwell, Hucknall, Newstead, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Sutton Parkway, Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, Shirebrook, Langwith-Whaley Thorns (1tp2h), Creswell, Whitwell (1tp2h)
Langwith-Whaley Thorns and Whitwell are served by alternating trains.
Spalding, Sleaford, Ruskington, Metheringham
Some trains extend to Doncaster (see below) or Newark Northgate (see above)
Spalding, Sleaford, Ruskington, Metheringham, Lincoln, Saxilby, Gainsborough Lea Road
Liverpool South Parkway, Widnes, Warrington Central, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Alfreton, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough, Ely, Thetford
One train Norwich-bound starts from Nottingham.
Barrow Haven, New Holland, Goxhill, Thornton Abbey, Ulceby, Habrough, Stallingborough, Healing, Great Coates, Grimsby Town, Grimsby Docks, New Clee
Luton Airport Express
In March 2023, an automated guided people mover, the Luton DART, opened between Luton Airport and Luton Airport Parkway railway station. EMR now advertise the Luton Airport Express service as an airport rail link, with a headline figure of 32 minutes from London St Pancras to the airport terminal using the Luton DART, the cost of which is included in the train ticket price.
East Midlands Railway Overview
East Midlands Railway Franchise(s):
18 August 2019 – 16 October 2030
East Midlands Railway Main Region(s):
North West England
East Midlands Railway Other Region(s): East of England
East Midlands Railway Fleet Size:
27 Class 222 Meridian
21 Class 360 Desiro
26 Class 158 Express Sprinter
40 Class 170 Turbostar
East Midlands Railway Parent Company: Transport UK Group
East Midlands Railway Reporting Mark: EM
East Midlands Railway Predecessor: East Midlands Trains