Stagecoach is to have its contract to run train services in the East Midlands for at least another five months, after agreeing a short term extension to its contract with the Department for Transport (DfT).
The company which runs East Midlands Trains services in Lincolnshire was set to see its franchise end on March 2, but to bridge the gap and ensure a smooth transition to a new franchise, a new short term franchise agreement has been agreed ahead of signing a longer term deal expected to start in August.
The new East Midlands Trains contract will run until at least August 18.
Stagecoach has operated the East Midlands Trains franchise successfully for over 11 years. It has run the UK’s most punctual long distance inter-city services for the last ten years, at the same time as returning over £200m to the taxpayer.
Over the last 11 years, customers are also said to have benefited from millions of pounds of investment to improve services through technology, stations and infrastructure.
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 subsequent franchise that is currently being tendered by the DfT, including helping to put in place plans for extra seats from 2020.
The commercial terms of the new contract are similar to other recently let Direct Award contracts and include profit share arrangements with the DfT.
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.”