Stagecoach Group plc has confirmed that its subsidiary, East Midlands Trains Limited, has agreed a new short-term rail franchise with the Department for Transport ("DfT"). The new franchise will commence on 3 March 2019 and run until at least 18 August 2019. The DfT has the discretion to extend the franchise by up to 24 weeks on terms that have been agreed.
Under the new agreement, customers and communities will continue to benefit from a range of improvements, including:
• Supporting the delivery of the £1.5bn Midland Main Line upgrade to improve capacity and reduce journey times.
• Continuation of the investment programme to improve stations and trains, which includes accessibility improvements at stations and on trains.
• Roll out of smart ticketing in March 2019 as part of the wider programme on National Rail.
In addition, East Midlands Trains will be focused on ensuring readiness for the new franchise, including helping to put in place plans for extra seats from 2020.
Under the terms of the new contract, revenue risk will sit primarily with the DfT. East Midlands Trains expects to earn a modest profit under the contract and a profit sharing arrangement with the DfT will apply.
East Midlands Trains remains the UK's most punctual long distance railway, a position it has held for the last ten years. Last year saw East Midlands Trains work with Network Rail to successfully deliver a £200m re-signalling and upgrade project at Derby. Over the last 11 years, customers have benefited from millions of pounds of investment to improve services, whilst taxpayers have benefited from substantial premium payments to Government.