East Midlands Railway

Last updated

East Midlands Railway
East Midlands Railway logo.svg
Leicester - Abellio 222104 Lincoln service.JPG
Class 222 at Leicester in EMR Intercity livery
  • East Midlands
  • 18 August 2019 – 16 October 2030 [1]
Main region(s)
Other region(s) East of England
Fleet size
Parent company Abellio
Reporting mark EM [2]
Predecessor East Midlands Trains
Website www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Abellio East Midlands Limited, [3] trading as East Midlands Railway (EMR), is a train operating company in England, owned by Abellio, and is the current operator of the East Midlands franchise.



In March 2017, the Department for Transport announced that Arriva, a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, and incumbent Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the next East Midlands franchise. [4] Abellio was added in February 2018. [5]

FirstGroup and Trenitalia pulled out of the bidding process in April 2018 to focus on the West Coast Partnership franchise. [6] In April 2019 the franchise was awarded to Abellio, with East Midlands Railway (EMR) to take over the franchise from East Midlands Trains (EMT) on 18 August 2019 for a period of eight years. [7]

In June 2019, Abellio revealed branding and colour scheme using distinct purple and white colours to reflect the heritage of the East Midlands. It also confirmed it would divide the services into three segments: [8]

In April 2021 it was announced that EMR Electrics would be rebranded as EMR Connect. [9]

Franchise suspension and termination agreement

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a collapse in revenues in March 2020, the franchise was suspended and replaced by an Emergency Measure Agreement for six months under which the Department for Transport assumed responsibility for all revenues and costs and EMR was paid a management fee. [10] This was superseded by an Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) under which the original franchise agreement was terminated. The franchise will operate until March 2022. [11] [12]

In 2021, the DfT issued an updated prior information notice, which confirmed that the ERMA period would be extended until 16 October 2022. [13] Following this the company was given a direct award of a four-year National Rail Contract, with the option of extending it for a further period of up to four years. [1]


EMR was one of several train operators impacted by the 2022-2023 United Kingdom railway strikes, which was the first national rail strike in the UK for three decades. [14] Its workers were amongst those who participated in industrial action due to a dispute over pay and working conditions. [15]


Route map of the East Midlands Railway network East Midlands Railway.svg
Route map of the East Midlands Railway network
A vector map of EMR InterCity and EMR Connect services EMR vector map.jpg
A vector map of EMR InterCity and EMR Connect services

EMR operates commuter services from London St Pancras to Corby, as well as InterCity services from London St Pancras along the Midland Main Line to Nottingham and Sheffield with limited extensions to Lincoln. EMR also operate the local East Midlands services and inter regional services to Liverpool and Norwich (Express service). Services from Nottingham to Liverpool Lime Street were to transfer to another operator during the life of the franchise, [16] although following a review by the DfT, this will no longer take place; the service instead being split at Nottingham as intended but remaining with EMR. [17] The Barton line was expected to transfer from Northern in 2019 but this was delayed until May 2021. [18] [19]

On 19 June 2021, the EMR Regional services were cut to enable the timetable to run effectively. [20] Although EMR said that 85% of services were still running, there was still an impact to local commuter services. [21]

Contactless payment cards can be used between London St Pancras International and Luton Airport Parkway. [22]

Over the course of the franchise, several planned timetable changes are to be made: [16]

As of December 2022, East Midlands Railway's off-peak services Monday-Friday include: [23]

EMR InterCity
RoutetphCalling at
London St Pancras InternationalNottingham 2
London St Pancras InternationalSheffield 2
EMR Connect
RoutetphCalling at
London St Pancras InternationalCorby 2
EMR Regional
RoutetphCalling at
DerbyMatlock 1
CreweNewark Castle 1
LeicesterLincoln 12
LeicesterGrimsby Town 12
Newark North GateLincoln 5tpd
NottinghamSkegness 1
NottinghamWorksop 1
PeterboroughLincoln 1
PeterboroughDoncaster 12
Liverpool Lime StreetNorwich 1
Barton-on-HumberCleethorpes 12

    Rolling stock

    East Midlands Railway inherited a fleet of 28 Class 43s, 21 Class 153s, 15 Class 156s, 26 Class 158s, and 27 Class 222s from East Midlands Trains. In January 2020 nine additional Class 156 units from Greater Anglia were introduced into service. Nine 8-carriage InterCity 125 sets were also transferred from London North Eastern Railway, with the first set having entered service on 4 May 2020. They were replaced in May 2021. [24] To replace the ex-Grand Central “buffered” HST sets, EMR commenced a lease of the 4 former Hull Trains Class 180 fleet despite their history of technical difficulties, with the first units entering service on 13 December 2020. [25] [26] On 16 May 2021, East Midlands Railway launched EMR Connect services between Corby and London St Pancras, which has enabled the final HSTs to be withdrawn. [27] The Connect service is operated by ex-Greater Anglia Class 360s. [28] [29]

    By 2023 East Midlands Railway plans to run EMR Regional services using 40 Class 170s, and plans to run EMR InterCity services using 33 new bi-mode Class 810 Aurora. [30]

    Current fleet

    ClassFamilyImageTypeTop SpeedNumberCarsRoutes operated and notesBuilt
    Shunting locomotive
    08 Neville Hill - EMT 08908 (cropped).jpg Shunter 15244N/A
    • Stock movements
    EMR InterCity
    222 Meridian Bombardier Voyager 222020 at Wellingborough Station.jpg DEMU 12520023 [31] 520032005
    4 [31] 7
    222 1 EMR Interim.png 222-0 7 car EMR Interim Livery.png
    180 Adelante Alstom Coradia CL180KET.jpg DHMU 1252003 [32] 520002001
    1 [32] 4
    180 EMR Interim Livery.png
    EMR Connect
    360 Desiro Siemens Desiro CL360 KET.jpg EMU 11018021 [32] 420022003
    Class 360 East Midlands Railway Electrics livery updated.png
    EMR Regional
    156 Super Sprinter Sprinter Matlock Bath - Abellio 156406 (Stagecoach colours).JPG Nottingham - EMR 156413 off to Skegness.jpg
    Leicester - EMR 156406 arriving from Lincoln.jpg
    DMU 7512011 [33] [lower-alpha 1] 2
    • Regional routes
    Class 156 East Midlands Railway Ex-EMT Plain Blue Diagram.png
    East Midlands Railway Class 156 Purple.png
    158/0 Express Sprinter Sheffield - Abellio 158770+158705 Stagecoach livery.JPG

    Derby - EMR 158773 arriving from Matlock.jpg

    9014526 [32] 2
    • Regional routes
    Class 158 East Midlands Railway Diagram.png
    170 Turbostar Bombardier Turbostar Nottingham - EMR 170417 Worksop service.jpg 1001618 [34] 3
    • Regional routes
    Class 170 East Midlands Railway 3-Car Diagram.png
    East Midlands Railway Class 170 (EMR Regional Livery).jpg 10016116 [32] 2
    • Regional routes
    Class 170 East Midlands Railway 2-Car Diagram.png
    1. 9 in service

    Future fleet

    To replace the Class 180 and Class 222 units, 33 5-carriage Class 810 bi-mode trains will be introduced in 2023. [35] [36] In May 2020, EMR opened a competition to give the class their own unique brand name. [37] In October 2020, EMR announced that the fleet will have the 'Aurora' brand. [38]

    Other existing stock to be added consist of 39 Class 170s; 23 from West Midlands Trains, 12 from Transport for Wales and 4 from Southern. [39] [40] [41] [42] Those altogether will enable the Class 153, Class 156, and Class 158 sets to be withdrawn, although some of the gaps were to be filled in when the Liverpool-Nottingham service was taken over by another operator. This will now not take place, with a proposal made to transfer 15 Class 185 units from TransPennine Express to prevent the shortfall in stock caused by EMR retaining this service, with another solution being to retain the Class 158s. [17] [43] It was expected that 12 Class 171 units would transfer from Southern. [39] [44] [45] However, due to no replacement units being sourced, this will not take place, with the Transport for Wales Class 170s replacing the planned transfer of Class 171s from Southern. [39] [43] In May 2022 however, it was announced that 4 Class 171s would transfer from Southern, with expected entry into service being in the autumn of 2022. These units will be converted to Class 170s, reformed into 3-carriage sets and work alongside the rest of the fleet. [42] Three of these units were transferred to EMR on 7 September 2022 having been reformed from their previous two-and-four-car formations. [34] The fourth unit is due to transfer in late 2023 as 170421. [46]

    ClassFamilyImageTypeTop SpeedNumberCarsRoutes operatedIn service
    EMR InterCity
    810 Aurora Hitachi AT300 EMR AT300.jpg BMU 12520033 [47] 52023 [48]
    EMR Regional
    170 Turbostar Bombardier Turbostar East Midlands Railway Class 170 (EMR Regional Livery).jpg DMU 10016111 [49] [lower-alpha 1] 2
    • Regional routes
    Class 170 East Midlands Railway 2-Car Diagram.png
    Cyffordd Twnnel Hafren - TfW 170203.JPG 10016183
    • Regional routes
    Class 170 East Midlands Railway 3-Car Diagram.png
    British Rail Class 171 171722.jpg 10016113
    • Regional routes
    Class 170 East Midlands Railway 3-Car Diagram.png
    1. 170530-170535 formerly in 3 car formation

    Past fleet

    The last of the InterCity 125 sets East Midlands Railway inherited from East Midlands Trains were withdrawn in December 2020, having been replaced by five ex LNER InterCity 125 sets which were more compliant with new regulations and four Class 180s. [50] Originally nine former LNER sets were to replace a similar number of sets inherited from East Midlands Trains. However, after the carriages were found to require more repairs than originally envisaged, this was cut back to five sets. [51]

    In December 2021, the final Class 153s were withdrawn, as they were not PRM (Persons with Reduced Mobility) compliant, with Class 156s replacing them on the Barton line from 13 December. [52] [53] These units were placed into storage at Long Marston and Ely Papworth Sidings in December 2021. [54]

    In December 2022, four Class 156 units went off lease and were sent for storage at Barrow Hill, with East Midlands Railway stating that they will be moved to Ely Papworth sidings at a later date. [55] [56]

    ClassFamilyImageTypeTop SpeedNumberCarsRoutesWithdrawn
    EMR InterCity
    43 (HST) InterCity 125 Leicester - Abellio 43055 (Stagecoach colours).JPG Loco 12520024N/A2020
    St Pancras - Abellio 43423-43465 (Stagecoach colours).JPG 6 [57]
    Class 43 MTU- Nottingham.jpg 2320202021
    Mark 3 East Midlands Railway Mark 3 Overview.jpg Coach 94 [58] 2020
    Ex-LNER MK3 EMR.jpg 78 [59] 20202021
    EMR Regional
    153 Super Sprinter Sprinter Derby - Abellio 153383+153374+153308 (Stagecoach colours).JPG DMU 7512021 [58] [60] 1
    • Regional routes
    156 Super Sprinter
    Matlock Bath - Abellio 156406 (Stagecoach colours).JPG
    Nottingham - EMR 156413 off to Skegness.jpg
    Leicester - EMR 156406 arriving from Lincoln.jpg
    13 [33] 22021-2022


    EMR operates two depots: Derby Etches Park and Nottingham Eastcroft. [61] The Class 360s are maintained at Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot by Siemens Mobility. [62]


    East Midlands Railway was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority, who in September 2021 found that they had breached marketing codes. The firm had launched a competition in February 2021 asking participants for ideas to "Build Back Better" with the chance of winning £5,000. However, the competition was closed and the prize not awarded. East Midlands Railway stated that this was due to financial concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and due to the low quality of entries received. [63]

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    Preceded by Operator of East Midlands franchise
    Succeeded by