The UK’s East Midlands Trains (EMT) has launched a £13m investment programme to deliver better journeys for millions of customers by upgrading trains and stations across the region.
Following an agreement with the UK Department for Transport (DfT), the rail operator will continue running EMT services.
The group’s initial franchise, which was due to end this month, has been extended until at least March 2018 with the DfT having the option to extend the contract by up to a year.
EMT runs services from London St Pancras International to Northamptonshire, East Midlands and South Yorkshire, as well as local routes throughout Lincolnshire, the East Midlands and Staffordshire, and trains between Liverpool and Norwich.
As part of the investment programme, EMT has pledged to offer discounted fares and improved compensation for delays, along with cleaner stations and trains.
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The investment will also see better onboard service and new technology to provide faster and better customer information.
UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "I want to see passengers put at the heart of our railway system.
"Strengthening our transport infrastructure, locally and nationally, is a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan, and the £38bn spent on the UK’s rail network between 2014 and 2019 will help boost jobs and growth."
Local communities will benefit with more than £250,000 invested in community rail, new initiatives with schools and continued opportunities for graduates and young people.
Additional front-line staff will be recruited to help customers, while employees will benefit from a range of improvements.
East Midlands Trains managing director Jake Kelly said: "We’re certain our customers will welcome the plans we have in place to improve our services."
In September, EMT has extended its current technical service agreement (TSA) with Bombardier for a further three years until March 2018.
Originally signed in 2007, the maintenance services support contract 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.
Image: UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and EMT customer experience and commercial director Neil Micklethwaite at the launching of the scheme at Derby station. Photo: courtesy of UK Department for Transport.