The UK Government has launched a tender for its East Midlands rail franchise, an intercity and regional train company that offers passenger services between London, the East Midlands and Yorkshire, as well as all central England routes.

The winner of the bid will deploy a new fleet of bi-mode trains and nearly 50% more peak-time seats to ensure faster intercity journeys and better compensation for delays.

The new East Midlands operator will be required to increase the frequency of various services, including an extra train every hour between Corby and London.

The operator is also expected to offer additional trains on Sundays, high-quality wi-fi and mobile connectivity on trains, as well as improve seating and luggage spaces on trains and provide enhanced facilities at stations.

“We are investing in the biggest upgrade to the Midland Main Line since it was completed in 1870.”

Once selected, the operator is scheduled to start operating the franchise in August next year and will work with Network Rail to implement the enhancements.

UK Rail Minister Jo Johnson said: “We are investing in the biggest upgrade to the Midland Main Line since it was completed in 1870.

“We have listened carefully to what thousands of passengers and stakeholders have said they want to see in the next East Midlands franchise.

“We expect the next operator to unlock the unrealised potential while building on its stable foundations.”

The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has also launched a 12-week public consultation on the next Cross Country franchise, which is currently being operated by Arriva Cross Country and is scheduled to end late next year.

The government has also launched a Stations Improvement Fund and £250,000 from annual funding for community rail partnerships.