Monday 19 August 2019 12:14 pm

Abellio takes over East Midlands franchise from Stagecoach

Dutch train firm Abellio has officially taken over the East Midlands franchise from Stagecoach.

Abellio will operate the franchise, which connects London St Pancras to the East Midlands, for the next eight years from today.

Read more: Government signs controversial East Midlands contract with Abellio

It said it was bringing £600m worth of investment to rail services, including 165 trains linking cities in the North and East Midlands to St Pancras, and £20m towards stations in Leicester, Nottingham and Derby.

Abellio also said it would double capacity into London St Pancras and add 40 per cent more peak time capacity into Nottingham through more services and longer trains.

Abellio won the franchise earlier this year after the incumbent operator, Stagecoach, was disqualified from bidding for the franchise, along with two others, for failing to accept open-ended pension liabilities with the government.

Read more: Chris Grayling could be forced to take the stand as Stagecoach launches legal action against franchise snubs

Chris Heaton-Harris, the rail minister, said: “Abellio’s exciting plans for East Midlands Railway will make a real difference to passengers, delivering state-of-the-art trains with more seats, station improvements and trialling hydrogen fuel cell technology to ensure that East Midlands Railway becomes one of the most environmentally-friendly in the UK.

“This investment will also lead to more punctual journeys for passengers and play a major role in building a railway that’s fit for the future.”