Dutch public transport company Abellio has officially taken over the East Midlands rail franchise.

East Midlands Trains, which had been operated by Stagecoach since 2007, will now be called East Midlands Railway (EMR).

Abellio will operate the franchise until August 2027, with the option for a two-year extension.

It won the eight-year contract from the UK Department for Transport (DfT) in April after Stagecoach was disqualified due to concerns over pension commitments.

In February, Stagecoach received an extension of six months to run East Midlands until August.

Abellio promised to invest £600m in improvements to trains and stations, maximising the effect of the government’s £1.5bn upgrade of the Midland Main Line.

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By GlobalData

It also promised new trains, 165 new carriages and improved infrastructure.

The operator will introduce new trains that will replace the existing intercity fleet.

As per the agreement, Abellio East Midlands will trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line and run zero-carbon pilots at six stations along the route.

Last month, Abellio awarded Hitachi Rail a contract worth £400m ($486m) to supply intercity trains for East Midlands Railway.

Under the agreement, Hitachi Rail will supply 33 five-carriage intercity trains to Abellio and build 165 intercity carriages at its Newton Aycliffe train factory in the UK.

These trains will operate regularly in ten-carriage formations by 2022. They will operate within Midland mainline, including Sheffield, Chesterfield, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Lincoln, as well as Kettering and London St Pancras.

Hitachi said that it will work with more than 60 suppliers from the Midlands on this project.

The Dutch company already runs five other rail franchises, including Scotrail and Greater Anglia services between Norwich and London.