Rail franchises operators & contracts

12.02.19

Stagecoach secures East Midlands Trains franchise extension with DfT until August

Stagecoach has reached a new agreement with the DfT to continue running East Midlands Trains for at least another five months.

With the current East Midlands Trains franchise due to end at the beginning of March, Stagecoach will now run the franchise until at least August 2019, and its short-term extension with the DfT includes the option to extend this agreement by up to six rail periods.

In a written statement to Parliament, rail minister Andrew Jones said the operator had achieved good performance levels and passenger satisfaction levels during the time it had been operating the franchise.

Jones said this deal would allow a “smooth transition” into the next competitively-tendered franchise, and in the next few months the minister expects to see a £150,000 investment into improving accessibility at stations and a simplified application process for Delay Repay.

Under the new agreement, Stagecoach and East Midlands Trains will support the delivery of the £1.5bn Midland Main Line upgrade, and the continuation of the investment programme to improve stations and trains.

The agreement, which means Stagecoach will run the franchise till at least 18 August, also includes a commitment to continue the rollout of smart ticketing in March 2019 as part of National Rail’s wider programme.

Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, said: “We are pleased to have been given the opportunity by the DfT to extend our successful tenure of the East Midlands Trains franchise until at least August.

“We are very proud of the improvements we have delivered for our customers and our people over the past 11 years, and we look forward to continuing this successful track record.”

The firm said it has proved to be the most punctual inter-city rail operator over the past decade, and provided over £200m in payments from Stagecoach to the taxpayers over its 11-year period.

Griffiths added: “In addition, East Midlands Trains will be focused on ensuring readiness for the subsequent franchise that is currently being tendered by the DfT, including helping to put in place plans for extra seats from 2020.”

Image credit - Joe GiddensPA ArchivePA Images

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