Stagecoach will continue to operate train services on the East Midlands rail franchise to at least August 2019, following a new agreement with the Department for Transport (DfT). If required, there is an option to extend this agreement by up to a further 6 rail periods.
Under the direct award, passengers travelling from London St Pancras International to Northamptonshire, the East Midlands, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire will continue to be served by East Midlands Trains until 18 August 2019.
The current East Midlands Trains franchise is due to end on 2 March 2019. To bridge the gap and ensure a smooth transition to the new franchise, which is currently expected to start in August 2019, a new short-term franchise agreement is required.
Under the new agreement, customers will continue to benefit from a range of improvements, including supporting the delivery of the GBP 1.5 billion (EUR 1.7 billion) Midland Main Line upgrade to improve capacity and reduce journey times, continuation of the investment programme to improve stations and trains, and the roll out of smart ticketing – in March 2019 as part of the wider programme on National Rail.
Stagecoach has operated the East Midlands Trains franchise for over 11 years. It has delivered industry leading levels of performance by running the UK’s most punctual long distance services for the last ten years of the franchise, at the same time as returning over £200m to the taxpayer.