222103 at St Pancras International

The UK’s East Midlands Trains (EMT) has extended its current technical service agreement (TSA) with Bombardier for a further three years until March 2018.

The maintenance services support contract, originally signed in 2007, covers ongoing support for EMT’s fleet of Meridian diesel-electric multiple units (DEMUs).

The contract includes an option for a further extension up to March 2019.

EMT fleet director Tim Sayer said: "It’s great news for passengers that our franchise will continue until at least March 2018, and we’ve got lots of plans to improve our services.

"It’s great news for passengers that our franchise will continue until at least March 2018, and we’ve got lots of plans to improve our services."

"We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Bombardier over the coming years to ensure our Meridian trains offer a reliable and enjoyable travelling experience for our passengers".

Since 2007, Bombardier has been maintaining the 125mph Class 222 Meridian DEMUs, which are operated on services from Sheffield to London St Pancras via Derby and Nottingham.

These DEMUs were manufactured by Bombardier between 2002 and 2005.

The TSA deal includes the current fleet of 27 trainsets (143 vehicles), with a requirement for 24 train sets to be available daily.

The trains will be maintained at Bombardier’s main UK depot in Etches Park, Derby, with stabling at Cricklewood, north London.

Bombardier Transportation project management for UK fleet contracts head Hugh Heath said: "We’ve worked hard to enhance safety, reliability and availability of the Meridian fleet, including targeted attention to improve the customer environment and increase capacity. We look forward to continuing those improvements in the future through our ongoing collaborative relationship with EMT."

Earlier this month, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has signed a three-year contract with the current operator EMT, a subsidiary of Stagecoach Group, for the East Midlands franchise.

Under the deal, EMT will continue to run services between London, the East Midlands and parts of northern of England until March 2018.

Stagecoach Group will pay the government £150m to run the franchise from October to March 2018, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

The deal will see a £13m investment in improved services, including £8m from the Stagecoach Group subsidiary to improve stations and on-board services, and launch of a mobile app for customers to buy tickets.

The improvements being carried out under the new deal include extra services between Nottingham and Newark Castle, more automatic ticket machines, and a £1m investment in accessibility at stations.

Image: 222103 arrives, terminating 1P44, the 13:17 East Midlands Trains service from Corby. Photo: courtesy of Joshua Brown via Wikipedia.