East Midlands Railway

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East Midlands Railway
Leicester - Abellio 222104 Lincoln service.JPG
Class 222 at Leicester in EMR Intercity livery
Franchise(s)East Midlands
18 August 2019 – 31 March 2022
Main region(s)East Midlands
Greater London
South Yorkshire
North West England
Other region(s)East of England
Parent companyAbellio
Reporting markEM
PredecessorEast Midlands Trains
Route map
Route map

Abellio East Midlands Limited,[1] trading as East Midlands Railway (EMR), is a train operating company in England, owned by Abellio, and is the current operator of the East Midlands franchise.


In March 2017, the Department for Transport announced that Arriva, a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, and incumbent Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the next East Midlands franchise.[2] Abellio was added in February 2018.[3]

FirstGroup and Trenitalia pulled out of the bidding process in April 2018 to focus on the West Coast Partnership franchise.[4] In April 2019 the franchise was awarded to Abellio, with East Midlands Railway (EMR) to take over the franchise from East Midlands Trains (EMT) on 18 August 2019 for a period of eight years.[5]

In June 2019, Abellio revealed branding and colour scheme using distinct purple and white colours to reflect the heritage of the East Midlands. It also confirmed it would divide the services into three segments:[6]

  • EMR Intercity for long-distance services from London St Pancras
  • EMR Regional for services across the East Midlands
  • EMR Electrics for the outer suburban London St Pancras to Corby service

In April 2021 it was announced that EMR Electrics would be rebranded as EMR Connect.[7]

Franchise suspension and termination agreement[edit]

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a collapse in revenues in March 2020, the franchise was suspended and replaced by an Emergency Measure Agreement for six months under which the Department for Transport assumed responsibility for all revenues and costs and EMR was paid a management fee.[8] This was superseded by an Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) under which the original franchise agreement was terminated. The franchise will operate until March 2022.[9][10]


Route map of the East Midlands Railway network
A vector map of EMR InterCity and EMR Connect services

EMR operates commuter services from London St Pancras to Corby, as well as intercity services from London St Pancras along the Midland Main Line to Nottingham and Sheffield with limited extensions to Lincoln, Leeds, and York. EMR also operate the local East Midlands services and inter regional services to Liverpool and Norwich (Express service). Services from Nottingham to Liverpool Lime Street were to transfer to another operator during the life of the franchise,[11] although following a review by the DfT, this will no longer take place; the service instead being split at Nottingham as intended but remaining with EMR.[12] The Barton line was expected to transfer from Northern in 2019 but this was delayed until May 2021.[13][14]

On 19 June 2021 the EMR Regional services were cut to enable the timetable to run effectively.[15] Although EMR said that 85% of services were still running, there was still an impact to local commuter services.[16]

Contactless payment card can be used between London St Pancras International and Luton Airport Parkway.

Over the course of the franchise, several planned timetable changes are to be made:[11]

  • Earlier and later trains between Sheffield and Nottingham to East Midlands Parkway
  • Earlier and later trains between Sheffield and London St Pancras and more regular evening service to London St Pancras
  • 2 trains per hour between Nottingham and Kettering
  • 2 trains per hour between Corby and London St Pancras
  • Regular Sunday service between Corby and London St Pancras
  • Liverpool to Norwich split at Nottingham
  • Norwich to Nottingham extended to Derby
  • Regular hourly Sunday service between Norwich and Derby
  • Crewe to Derby service extended to Nottingham and hourly service on Sundays
  • Hourly Sunday service between Matlock and Nottingham
  • Hourly service between Nottingham and Grimsby Town with limited extension to Cleethorpes
  • Hourly Sunday service between Lincoln and Grimsby Town
  • Hourly service between Nottingham and Newark Castle
  • Hourly Sunday service between Worksop and Nottingham and later evening services on weekdays
  • Additional peak services between Nottingham and Grantham
  • Earlier and later trains between Nottingham and Boston
  • Later evening service on weekdays and a new Sunday service
  • Hourly through service between Doncaster and Peterborough via Lincoln
  • New Sunday service between Doncaster and Lincoln
  • Enhanced Sunday service on Barton to Cleethorpes route
  • 2 trains per day between Lincoln and London St Pancras
  • Newark Northgate to Grimsby Town service cut back to Lincoln except to for the limited extension to Cleethorpes and timed to run with LNER's London Kings Cross – Lincoln service
EMR Intercity
Route tph Calling at Stock
London St Pancras – Nottingham 1 Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester 222 180
1 Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Beeston
London St Pancras – Sheffield 1 Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Derby, Chesterfield
1 Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield
EMR Connect
Route tph Calling at Stock
London St Pancras – Corby [17] 2 Luton Airport Parkway, Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering 360
EMR Regional
Route tph Calling at Stock
Liverpool Lime StreetNorwich 1 Liverpool South Parkway, Widnes, Warrington Central, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Alfreton, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough, Ely, Thetford 153
Matlock – Nottingham 1 Matlock Bath, Cromford, Whatstandwell, Ambergate, Belper, Duffield, Derby, Spondon, Long Eaton, Attenborough, Beeston
CreweNewark Castle 1 Alsager, Kidsgrove, Longport, Stoke-on-Trent, Longton, Blythe Bridge, Uttoxeter, Tutbury & Hatton, Peartree[a] Derby, Spondon[a] Long Eaton, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton, Burton Joyce (1tp2h), Thurgarton[a], Bleasby[a], Fiskerton, Rolleston[a]
LeicesterLincoln 12 Syston, Sileby, Barrow-upon-Soar, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton[a], Burton Joyce[a], Lowdham[a], Thurgarton[a], Bleasby[a], Fiskerton[a], Rolleston[a], Newark Castle, Collingham, Swinderby, Hykeham
Leicester – Grimsby Town 12 Syston, Sileby, Barrow-upon-Soar, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton[a], Lowdham[a], Fiskerton[a], Rolleston[a], Newark Castle, Collingham, Swinderby, Hykeham, Lincoln, Market Rasen, Barnetby, Habrough
Limited extension to Cleethorpes; only 1–2 trains each way per day.
Newark North Gate – Lincoln 1 Collingham, Swinderby, Hykeham
Barton-on-HumberCleethorpes 12 Barrow Haven, New Holland, Goxhill, Thornton Abbey, Ulceby, Habrough, Stallingborough, Healing, Great Coates, Grimsby Town, Grimsby Docks, New Clee
Nottingham – Skegness 1 Netherfield[a], Radcliffe[a], Bingham, Aslockton[a], Elton & Orston [b], Bottesford, Grantham, Ancaster[a], Rauceby[a], Sleaford, Heckington, Swineshead[a], Hubberts Bridge[a], Boston, Thorpe Culvert[a], Wainfleet, Havenhouse[a]
Worksop – Nottingham 1 Whitwell, Creswell, Langwith-Whaley Thorns, Shirebrook, Mansfield Woodhouse, Mansfield, Sutton Parkway, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Newstead[a], Hucknall, Bulwell
Mansfield Woodhouse – Nottingham 1 Mansfield, Sutton Parkway, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Newstead, Hucknall, Bulwell[a]
Peterborough – Lincoln 1 Spalding, Sleaford, Ruskington, Metheringham
Some trains extend to Doncaster (see below) or Newark North Gate (see above)
Peterborough – Doncaster Spalding, Sleaford, Ruskington, Metheringham, Lincoln, Saxilby[a], Gainsborough Lea Road[a]
Limited service; only 4–5 trains each way per day. Extends, rather than supplements Peterborough-Lincoln
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Limited service of a few trains per day from this station
  2. ^ 1 service per day in each direction

Rolling stock[edit]

East Midlands Railway inherited a fleet of 28 Class 43s, 21 Class 153s, 15 Class 156s, 26 Class 158s, and 27 Class 222s from East Midlands Trains. In January 2020 nine additional Class 156 units from Greater Anglia were introduced into service. Nine 8-carriage InterCity 125 sets were also transferred from London North Eastern Railway, with the first set having entered service on 4 May 2020. They were replaced in May 2021.[18] To replace the ex-Grand Central “buffered” HST sets, EMR commenced a lease of the 4 former Hull Trains Class 180 fleet despite their history of technical difficulties, with the first units entering service on 13 December 2020.[19][20] On 16 May 2021, East Midlands Railway launched EMR Connect services between Corby and London St Pancras, which has enabled the final HSTs to be withdrawn.[21] The Connect service is operated by ex-Greater Anglia Class 360s. [22][23]

By 2023 East Midlands Railway plans to run EMR Regional services using 40 Class 170s, and plans to run EMR Intercity services using 33 new bi-mode Class 810s by the end of 2023. The new and refurbished trains will provide:[24]

  • a more reliable service
  • improved comfort
  • passenger information system displays
  • free on-board Wi-Fi
  • at-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • air conditioning
  • tables at all seats
  • increased luggage space

Current fleet[edit]

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes operated and notes: Built
mph km/h
Shunting locomotive
08 Neville Hill - EMT 08908 (cropped).jpg Shunter 15 24 4 N/A
  • Stock movements
EMR Intercity
222 Meridian Bombardier Voyager East Midlands Railway 221104 at St Pancras.jpg
EMR 222016 - 222020 at St Pancras.jpg
DMU 125 200 4 4 2003–05
17 5
6 7
222-1 4 car EMR Interim Livery.png Class 222 East Midlands Railway Diagram.png

222 1 EMR Interim.png 222-0 7 car EMR Interim Livery.png

180 Adelante Alstom Coradia PXL 20210429 142730351(1).jpg 125 200 4 5 2000–01
180 EMR Interim Livery.png
EMR Connect
360 Siemens Desiro Class 360 106 East Midlands Railway.jpg EMU 110 180 21 4 2002–03
Class 360 East Midlands Railway Electrics livery updated.png
EMR Regional
153 Super Sprinter Sprinter EMR 153319 at the bay platforms, Lincoln station.jpg DMU 75 120 6 1
  • Regional routes
156 Super Sprinter Cromford - Anellio 156413 (Stagecoach colours).JPG

East Midlands Railway Class 156, Attenborough.jpg

24[25] 2
  • Regional routes
Class 156 East Midlands Railway Ex-EMT Plain Blue Diagram.png

East Midlands Railway Class 156 Purple.png
158/0 Express Sprinter 158812 - Nottingham.jpg

EMR Interim - Nottingham 3C.jpg

90 145 26 2
  • Regional routes
Class 158 East Midlands Railway Diagram.png
170 Bombardier Turbostar 170417 The Key Worker.jpg 100 161 5 3
  • Regional routes
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 3-Car Diagram.png
East Midlands Railway Class 170 (EMR Regional Livery).jpg 100 161 8 2
  • Regional routes
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 2-Car Diagram.png

Future fleet[edit]

To replace the Class 180 and Class 222 units, 33 5-carriage Class 810 bi-mode trains will be introduced in 2023.[26][27] In May 2020, EMR opened a competition to give the class their own unique brand name.[28] In October 2020, EMR announced that the fleet will have the 'Aurora' brand.[29]

Other existing stock to be added consist of 35 Class 170s; 23 from West Midlands Trains and 12 from Transport for Wales.[30][31] Those altogether will enable the Class 153, Class 156, and Class 158 sets to be withdrawn, although some of the gaps were to be filled in when the Liverpool-Nottingham service was taken over by another operator. This will now not take place, with a proposal made to transfer 15 Class 185 units from TransPennine Express to prevent the shortfall in stock caused by EMR retaining this service.[12] It was expected that 12 Class 171 units would transfer from Southern.[32][33] However due to no replacement units being sourced it this will not take place.

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes operated In service
mph km/h
EMR Intercity
810 Aurora Hitachi AT300 EMR AT300.jpg BMU 125 200 33[34] 5 2023[35]
EMR Regional
170 Bombardier Turbostar East Midlands Railway Class 170 (EMR Regional Livery).jpg DMU 100 161 16[36] 2
  • Regional routes
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 2-Car Diagram.png

100 161 3 2
  • Regional routes
8 3
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 2-Car Diagram.png
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 3-Car Diagram.png

Past fleet[edit]

The last of the InterCity 125 sets East Midlands Railway inherited from East Midlands Trains were withdrawn in December 2020, having been replaced by five ex LNER InterCity 125 sets which were more compliant with new regulations and four Class 180s.[37] Originally nine former LNER sets were to replace a similar number of sets inherited from East Midlands Trains. However after the carriages were found to require more repairs than originally envisaged, this was cut back to five sets.[38]

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes Transferred to Withdrawn
mph km/h
EMR Intercity
43 InterCity 125 Leicester - Abellio 43055 (Stagecoach colours).JPG Loco 125 200 24 N/A 2020
St Pancras - Abellio 43423-43465 (Stagecoach colours).JPG 6
Class 43 MTU- Nottingham.jpg 23
  • Storage (21)
  • RailAdventure (2)[43]
Mark 3 East Midlands Railway Mark 3 Overview.jpg Coach 94[44]
  • Storage (18)
  • 125 Group (8)[45][46]
  • Locomotive Services (5)
  • D.A.T.S Ltd (1)
  • Scrapped (62)
Ex-LNER MK3 EMR.jpg 78[47]
  • Storage (41)
  • Scrapped (37)
EMR Regional
153 Super Sprinter Sprinter Derby - Abellio 153383+153374+153308 (Stagecoach colours).JPG DMU 75 120 15 1
  • Regional routes


EMR operates two depots; Derby Etches Park and Nottingham Eastcroft.[50] The Class 360s are maintained at Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot by Siemens Mobility.[51]


East Midlands Railway was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority, who in September 2021 found that they had breached marketing codes. The firm had launched a competition in February 2021 asking participants for ideas to "Build Back Better" with the chance of winning £5,000. However, the competition was closed and the prize not awarded. East Midlands Railway stated that this was due to financial concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and due to the low quality of entries received.[52]


  1. ^ "ABELLIO EAST MIDLANDS LIMITED". Companies House. HM Government. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  2. ^ Three prequalify for next East Midlands franchise Railway Gazette International 1 March 2017
  3. ^ Abellio joins East Midlands franchise shortlist Railway Gazette International 6 February 2018
  4. ^ First Group and Trenitalia pull out of East Midlands franchise contest International Railway Journal 23 April 2018
  5. ^ More seats, services and state-of-the-art trains for passengers on new East Midlands railway Department for Transport 10 April 2019
  6. ^ Pegden, Tom. "How Midland Mainline trains will soon look". Leicester Mercury. Reach plc. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  7. ^ "New train timetable from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough revealed for May electric revolution". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  8. ^ Covid-19: government suspends rail franchise agreements The Guardian 23 March 2020
  9. ^ UK government announces the end of rail franchising Railway Gazette International 21 September 2020
  10. ^ Transitional ERMAs pave the way to management contracts Modern Railways 23 September 2020
  11. ^ a b East Midlands Rail Franchise Department for Transport
  12. ^ a b "EMR set to retain Liverpool – Nottingham service". Railway Gazette International.
  13. ^ East Midlands rail franchise consultation Department for Transport
  14. ^ May Milestone for MML Timetable Modern Railways issue 872 May 2021 page 23
  15. ^ "Amended Timetable across EMR Regional routes | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  16. ^ "East Midlands Railway announces cuts to services". BBC News. 18 June 2021.
  17. ^ Duggan, Jamie (2021-05-16). "New East Midlands Railway Connect services feature electric trains between Corby and London St Pancras". Rail Advent. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  18. ^ Cameron White. "WATCH: Final East Midlands Railway VP185 Class 43 locomotive at Chesterfield". Rail Advent. Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  19. ^ Clinnick, Richard. "Cascaded LNER HSTs to plug the gap in East Midlands fleet". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  20. ^ First EMR HST replacement in service next week Railway Herald Issue 673 22 January 2020 page 8
  21. ^ "Introducing EMR Connect – more seats and a simpler timetable on our greenest ever fleet | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  22. ^ "EMR Connect: All electric train service launches next week | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  23. ^ https://www.railpro.co.uk/news/emr-connect-all-electric-train-service-launches-this-week
  24. ^ http://maps.dft.gov.uk/east-midlands-rail-franchise/
  25. ^ 19 in service
  26. ^ "Abellio invests £400 million in new Hitachi trains for East Midlands Railway". 30 July 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  27. ^ Abellio orders East Midlands inter-city fleet Railway Gazette International 30 July 2019
  28. ^ "EMR launches competition to name new Intercity fleet | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  29. ^ "Aurora – the name for East Midlands Railway Class 810 trains". RailAdvent. 2020-10-27. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  30. ^ Clinnick, Richard. "Progress on new train fleets continues". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  31. ^ 153s acquired Modern Railways issue 874 July 2021 page 13
  32. ^ A New Era for the East Midlands as Abellio starts its fifth franchise Today's Railways UK issue 214 October 2019 page 26
  33. ^ Replacements sought for 171s Rail issue 889 9 October 2019 page 29
  34. ^ Pritchard, Robert, ed. (September 2019). "Hitachi Scoops Order for East Midlands". Today's Railways. No. 213. Sheffield: Platform 5. p. 6. ISSN 1475-9713.
  35. ^ "Aurora – the name for East Midlands Railway Class 810 trains". RailAdvent. October 27, 2020.
  36. ^ 170530-170535 formerly in 3 car formation
  37. ^ Double Paxman Demise Modern Railways issue 868 January 2021 page 50
  38. ^ Ex LNER 43 moved to Barrow Hill Rail issue 917 4 November 2020 page 31
  39. ^ "WATCH: LSL's Blue Pullman Class 43 locomotives passes through Chesterfield". Rail Advent. Cameron White. 2020-12-19. Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  40. ^ 43044 – Production HST Power Car – 125 Group. Retrieved 2021-02-23.
  41. ^ 43048 – Production HST Power Car – 125 Group. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
  42. ^ 43089 – Production HST Power Car – 125 Group. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
  43. ^ a b "RailAdventure announces new UK partnership – purchases 8 Class 43 power cars". Railcolor News. 19 April 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  44. ^ "REVEALED: Every single heavy rail vehicle granted disability dispensation by DfT". Rail Magazine. 9 February 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  45. ^ "Preservation Update – November 2020". 125 Group. November 24, 2020.
  46. ^ "Mission Complete (Well, Almost…..)". 125 Group. February 19, 2021.
  47. ^ "Cascaded LNER HSTs to plug the gap in East Midlands fleet". Rail Magazine. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  48. ^ DMU shuffle for East Midlands Railways Illustrated March 2020 page 9
  49. ^ EMR Class 153s join Welsh fleet Rail issue 919 2 December 2020 page 30
  50. ^ A New Era for the East Midlands as Abellio starts its fifth franchise Today's Railways UK issue 214 October 2019 pages 24–26
  51. ^ "EMR Looks To 2020 Timetable Change". Modern Railways. 2019-12-24. Retrieved 2021-02-15.
  52. ^ Holden, Michael (2021-09-22). "East Midlands Railway says "poor quality entries" resulted in cancellation of competition, but breached ASA rules". RailAdvent. Retrieved 2021-09-22.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
East Midlands Trains
Operator of East Midlands franchise
Succeeded by