East Midlands Railway - B
East Midlands Railway - B
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 Rolling stock
East Midlands Railway inherited a fleet of 28 Class 43, 21 Class 153, 15 Class 156, 26 Class 158, and 27 Class 222 units from East Midlands Trains. In January 2020 nine additional Class 156 units from Greater Anglia were introduced into service.
Nine 8-carriage InterCity 125 sets were also transferred from London North Eastern Railway, with the first set having entered service on 4 May 2020. They were replaced in May 2021. To replace the former Grand Central “buffered” HST sets, EMR commenced a lease of the four former Hull Trains Class 180 fleet despite their history of technical difficulties, with the first units entering service on 13 December 2020.
On 16 May 2021, East Midlands Railway launched EMR Connect services between Corby and London St Pancras, which has enabled the final HSTs to be withdrawn. The Connect service is operated by ex-Greater Anglia Class 360s.
By 2023, East Midlands Railway plans to run EMR Regional services using 40 Class 170 units, and by 2024 plans to run EMR InterCity services using 33 new bi-mode Class 810 Aurora.
The final Class 170s from West Midlands Trains were delivered in May 2023.
East Midlands Railway Current Fleet
East Midlands Railway Future Fleet
To replace the Class 180 and Class 222 units, 33 five-carriage Class 810 bi-mode trains will be introduced in 2024. The Class 810 is an evolution of the Class 802 units Hitachi have delivered to a number of British train operators, amongst other changes, it has a reduced car length as to better facilitate its use of stations such as St Pancras and is fitted with uprated diesel engines that enable the Class 810 to equal, if not exceed, the acceleration of the Class 222. During May 2020, EMR opened a competition to give the class their own unique brand name.
In October 2020, EMR announced that the fleet will have the 'Aurora' brand. The earlier-than-planned withdrawal of the Class 180 fleet, now occurring at the May 2023 timetable change, means that 'Aurora' units will only directly replace the Class 222 fleet.
Other existing stock to be added consist of 39 Class 170s; 23 from West Midlands Trains, 12 from Transport for Wales and four from Southern. Those altogether will enable the Class 153, Class 156, and Class 158 sets to be withdrawn, although some of the gaps were to be filled in when the Liverpool-Nottingham service was taken over by another operator.
This will now not take place, with a proposal made to transfer 15 Class 185 units from TransPennine Express to prevent the shortfall in stock caused by EMR retaining this service, with another solution being to retain the Class 158s.
It was expected that 12 Class 171 units would transfer from Southern. However, due to no replacement units being sourced, this reshuffling will not take place, with the Transport for Wales Class 170s replacing the planned transfer of Class 171s from Southern. During May 2022, however, it was announced that four Class 171s would transfer from Southern, with expected entry into service being in the autumn of 2022.
These units will be converted into Class 170s, reformed into three-carriage sets and work alongside the rest of the fleet. Three of these units were transferred to EMR on 7 September 2022 having been reformed from their previous two-and-four-car formations. The fourth unit is due to transfer in late 2023 as 170421.
East Midlands Railway Past Fleet
The last of the InterCity 125 sets East Midlands Railway inherited from East Midlands Trains were withdrawn in December 2020, having been replaced by five ex LNER InterCity 125 sets which had greater compliance with new regulations and four Class 180s.
Originally nine former LNER sets were to replace a similar number of sets inherited from East Midlands Trains. However, after the carriages were found to require more repairs than originally envisaged, this was cut back to five sets.
In December 2021, the final Class 153s were withdrawn, as they were not PRM (Persons with Reduced Mobility) compliant, with Class 156s replacing them on the Barton line from 13 December. These units were placed into storage at Long Marston and Ely Papworth Sidings in December 2021.
In December 2022, four Class 156 units went off lease and were sent for storage at Barrow Hill, with East Midlands Railway stating that they will be moved to Ely Papworth sidings at a later date.
East Midlands Railway withdrew the last of its Class 156 fleet and its entire 180 fleet in May 2023.
Nottingham – Skegness (Summer Saturdays only)
Nottingham – Skegness (Summer Saturdays only)
EMR operates two depots: Derby Etches Park and Nottingham Eastcroft. The Class 360s are maintained at Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot by Siemens Mobility.
East Midlands Railway Controversy
East Midlands Railway was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority, who in September 2021 found that they had breached marketing codes. The firm had launched a competition in February 2021 asking participants for ideas to "Build Back Better" with the chance of winning £5,000.
However, the competition was closed and the prize not awarded; East Midlands Railway stated that this was due to financial concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as well as due to the low quality of entries received.
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