Thursday, 17 September 2015

EAST MIDLANDS TRAINS NEWS

East Midlands Trains agree new rail contract and £13m investment



East Midlands Trains has agreed a new franchise to continue operating regional services to the North of England and London until March 2018.
Under the deal, the firm will pay the government £150m to put towards other rail network investments.
In return, the rail firm will also invest £13m in extra services and freezing some ticket prices.
Rail minister Claire Perry said the agreement would mean "significantly better journeys for passengers".
Chief executive of parent company Stagecoach Group, Martin Griffiths, said the new franchise would "deliver a multimillion-pound return to the taxpayer to help fund the Government's ongoing investment programme for the UK rail network".


Under East Midlands Trains' investment, 22 extra services will be added between Nottingham and Newark Castle on Saturdays by December next year.
They have also promised faster journeys and more services between Nottingham and Lincoln on Saturdays, as well as changes to information online and a new mobile phone app.
In addition to these improvements, the Department for Transport said the government would continue working on improving faster journeys and more services on the Midland Mainline and £6m has also been invested in a new railway station at Ilkeston, Derbyshire.
Minister Claire Perry added: "This is another example of the work we're doing to transform the UK's railways as part of our long-term economic plan, with more than £38bn being spent on the network between 2014 and 2019."

Highlights for customers will include:

  • Better value fares - freeze on all Anytime fares to London until 2017; and quarter of a million discounted Advance Purchase tickets made available through our biggest ever ticket sale
  • New technology and easier travel - launch of new mobile app; upgraded 4G connectivity on trains and free 15 minutes WiFi on London trains in Standard Class; new smartphones for customer-facing employees; more ticket machines; and extra help-points at stations 
  • Faster refunds - an improved online compensation system for delays, providing faster compensation to customers who make valid claims;
  • Cleaner stations and trains - extra cleaning staff on trains and cleaner stations
  • Accessibility and security improvements - new in-house disability expert; improved passenger assistance system; £1m investment in station accessibility improvements; and extension of secure stations programme
  • Improved on-board service - on-board shop available on many busy peak time services to/from London to offer an even wider range of drinks and snacks; catering trolley service extended to more stops on Liverpool to Norwich services; complimentary First Class breakfast extended to include selected Saturday morning services for the first time
  • More seats and faster journeys - further improvements to the Nottingham-Newark-Lincoln timetable, with extra services and faster journey times on Saturdays; working with the Department for Transport to examine options for further improvements to services at weekends across other local routes
  • Community engagement - extension of community rail programme, supported by extra £250,000 in funding and new Partnerships Manager; roll out of schools education and work experience initiatives; new Charity Committee; expansion of popular station adoption scheme; and further work to promote and support local small and medium-sized businesses
  •  Investment in people - more frontline staff to help customers; enhanced customer service training for employees; providing more opportunities for graduates and young people.

Under the terms of the new franchise, Stagecoach will provide committed inter-company loan facilities of up to £41m to East Midlands Trains, and arrange a performance bond of £15m.  It will also arrange a season ticket bond of around £8m. These will replace all loan facilities and bonds currently in place in relation to the present East Midlands Trains franchise.

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