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East Midlands (East Midlands Trains)

East Midlands

What is happening now?

The Invitation to Tender (ITT) and Stakeholder Briefing Document were released by the Department for Transport (DfT) on 7th June 2018. 

The Transport Focus team will continue to meet with the bidders. These are: Arriva and Stagecoach, plus the addition of Abellio. First/Trenitalia have pulled out of the competition to focus on other bids. There are to be new safeguards against overbidding.


The Department for Transport (DfT) negotiated a new short-term franchise (known as a direct award) with East Midlands Trains (EMT), who are part of the Stagecoach Group, the existing operator of the route. Starting from October 2015, and with a further short-term direct award expected for a few months from March 2019, this allows EMT to continue to run services in the area until summer 2019.

In September 2017 we published our report, East Midlands rail franchise: passengers’ experiences and aspirations, based on our research with current EMT passengers.

Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of Transport Focus, said:

“East Midlands Trains passengers have a dependable service that delivers the basics well.

“Passengers have seen what other train companies provide, which has raised their expectations. They want more modern trains, with free Wi-Fi and power sockets as standard, and improvements to catering and toilet facilities on the train.

“The competition for the next franchise must seize the opportunity to provide an outstanding journey for rail passengers in the East Midlands.”

The DfT ran a consultation to seek views on the future of the East Midlands rail franchise, which closed in October 2017. A number of public events were held across the network, at which we presented results from our research. We submitted a full response to the consultation, based on our research into what passengers want from the new franchise.

The new franchise is expected to start in mid 2019.

Our role in the franchising process

We met with the DfT to determine our input to the next franchise replacement process and we continue to hold detailed discussions with the DfT to identify key issues. We are currently carrying out new qualitative research, in partnership with the DfT, to help inform our consultation response and the further shape the franchise specification. We expect to publish the results in the summer.

In November 2016 we presented passengers’ experiences and their priorities for the new franchise at the DfT’s Bidders Day for the new East Midlands franchise.

In 2014 we commissioned qualitative research into passengers’ current experiences and aspirations for the future franchise. We used this and other research, including the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), to inform our discussions with the DfT about passengers’ priorities for the direct award period. This has also been used as part of our analysis and recommendations for the franchise which we published in March 2015.

We also carried out an exercise on behalf of the DfT to gather passenger feedback online, the results of which will help DfT and East Midlands Trains shape future improvements.

We made representations to the DfT about the passenger benefits we wanted to see delivered by the most recent Direct Award. These included establishing NRPS targets for the franchise which are now in place.


To view our National Rail Passenger Survey reports or to access these and our appeal complaints data through our Data Explorer tool, please click on the links below:

NRPS                                                                Data Explorer

Transport Focus research and publications
October 2017 East Midlands rail franchise consultation response
June 2017 East Midlands rail franchise: passengers’ experiences and aspirations
September 2015 East Midlands Trains direct award announcement – Transport Focus response
March 2015 East Midlands franchise – Passenger Focus submission and research

Click here for key Department for Transport publications

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