Rail franchise extension to bring £13m of improvements and extra Lincoln trains

A new agreement between the Department of Transport and Stagecoach Group will see around £13 million of improvements on East Midlands Trains and extra services between Lincoln and Nottingham.

The rail operator extended its control of the franchise until at least March 4 2018, forecasting a range of benefits.

Under the terms of the deal, Stagecoach will put £8 million into improving stations and trains services, as well as launching a mobile app for customers.

Planned improvements include further investment in the Nottingham-Newark-Lincoln timetable, with faster journey times and extra services on Saturdays.

The scheme will also bring a ticket sale offering 250,000 discounted tickets, cleaner stations, new on-board cafes, investment into accessibility and new technology to provide faster and better customer information.

East Midlands Trains will continue to operate services from London St Pancras International to Northamptonshire, the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, as well as routes through Lincolnshire.

Local communities are included in the new deal, which will see £250,000 invested into community rail and the introduction of a new schools education programme.

Stagecoach will pay the government £150 million for the agreement, with the possibility of a one year extension.

Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, said: “Britain’s railway is part of the fabric of our communities – that is why our plans include more opportunities for graduates and young people, new links with schools, greater investment in community rail, and improved training to help our employees deliver a first class service to customers.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “This is a great deal for East Midlands Trains customers, and will mean significantly better journeys for passengers travelling around the region.

“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 £38 billion being spent on the network between 2014 and 2019.”

Jake Kelly, Managing Director of East Midlands Trains, added: “The agreement with the Department for Transport will now allow us to invest even further in the areas that matter most to our customers.

“At the same time, we’ll be offering better value for money by cutting the cost of thousands of fares and launching our biggest ticket seat sale, all designed to offer big improvements for millions of East Midlands Trains customers.”

The news was welcomed by Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transport Councillor Richard Davies.

He said: “Better transport links for the people of Lincolnshire to other parts of the country are at the top of our agenda here at Lincolnshire County Council so we welcome news of this investment. We look forward to working with East Midlands Trains in coming months.

“We are also starting to look forward to the new franchise agreement to be awarded in 2018 when we would hope to see further, more substantial; improvements for rail travellers across the county. There have been significant improvements within the Lincoln area recently but we would like to see better access across Lincolnshire.”