UK Department for Transport published the invitation to tender for East Midlands rail franchise, with a 12-week public consultation. The next operator is due to take over the franchise in August 2019 and will collaborate with Network Rail to meet all franchise requirements.
The current Cross Country franchise is currently operated by Arriva Cross Country and will end in late 2019.
This is the biggest upgrade to Midland Main Line in 140 years and will add a brand new fleet of bi-mode trains and around 50% more peak-time seats.
The franchise will reduce peak journey times between Nottingham, Sheffield and London and will bring a dedicated, high quality, express service between Corby and London. “These improvements will mean more comfortable journeys for both long distance and commuting passengers at the busiest times of the day,” Rail Minister Jo Johnson said.
The new East Midlands operator will also need to increase the frequency of services across the franchise, to provide more trains on a Sunday and high quality wi-fi and mobile connectivity on trains and will have to improve seating and luggage on trains and enhanced facilities at stations.