East Midlands Trains

East Midlands Trains
Franchise(s): East Midlands
11 November 2007 – 4 March 2018
Main Region(s): East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, East of England
Other Region(s): Greater London, North West England
Fleet size: 24 Class 43 HST power cars
17 Class 153 Super Sprinter sets
15 Class 156 Super Sprinter sets
25 Class 158 Express Sprinter sets
27 Class 222 Meridian sets
Stations called at: 87
Stations operated: 89
Route km operated: 1,567.5
National Rail abbreviation: EM
Parent company: Stagecoach Group
Website: www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk
Route map

East Midlands Trains InterCity services

Sheffield Supertram (Sheffield)
Nottingham Nottingham Express Transit
Long Eaton
East Midlands Parkway Airport interchange
Market Harborough
Luton Airport Parkway Airport interchange
London St Pancras London Underground

East Midlands Trains[1] (EMT) is a British train operating company owned by Stagecoach Group.

Based in Derby, the company provides train services in the East Midlands and parts of Yorkshire, chiefly in Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire. The franchise commenced on 11 November 2007 with the amalgamation of the Midland Mainline and eastern parts of the Central Trains franchises.


In June 2006 the Department for Transport announced its intention to restructure some rail franchises.[2] Included was an East Midlands franchise combining the Midland Mainline franchise with the East Midlands services of the Central Trains franchise.[3]

In September 2006 the Department for Transport announced Arriva, FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the franchise.[4][5]

In June 2007 the Department for Transport awarded the East Midlands franchise to Stagecoach and services operated by Central Trains and Midland Mainline transferred to East Midlands Trains on 11 November 2007.[6]

Originally due to end in March 2015, in March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would be extended until October 2017,[7] subject to successful renegotiation of the franchise contract. In September 2015 it was announced that the franchise will expire on 4 March 2018.[8] The Invitation to Tender will be released in May 2017.[9]


East Midlands Trains initially divided its services between two sub-brands: Mainline InterCity services, and Connect urban and suburban services, which mainly came from the Central Trains franchise. However, from April 2008, the company dropped the "Mainline" and "Connect" branding in favour of "London" and "Local" services. It also has four broad routes for the areas in which it operates, except for the high-speed InterCity services, which all serve London.

EMT promised better integration between "London" and "Local" services, together with increased punctuality and becoming more user-friendly.[10]

On 25 November 2008, Peter Bone (MP for Wellingborough) asked if the Secretary of State for Transport supports the "In the Can" campaign,[11] whereby sardines are sent to the Chief Executive to show dissatisfaction at perceived overcrowding.[12] Helen Southworth (then MP for Warrington South) also raised the overcrowding issue on the same day.[13]

Route-clearance trials have been carried out with Class 222 on routes from Nottingham to Liverpool, Lincoln and Norwich, although East Midlands Trains has no plans to use these units on Liverpool or Norwich services, except on Grand National weekend when a 7-car Class 222 is used between Liverpool and Nottingham only.

London St Pancras services

Service Pattern Destination Calling At Stock Journey Time
XX:00 Corby Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering MER 1h 10min
extension to Melton Mowbray (one service north/south) Oakham MER 1h 48min
extension to Derby (one service north/south) Oakham, Melton Mowbray, East Midlands Parkway MER 2h 45min
XX:15 Nottingham Market Harborough, Leicester, East Midlands Parkway HST 1h 40min
XX:26 Sheffield Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Derby, Chesterfield MER 2h 15min
extension to York (weekends) / Scarborough (summer Saturdays) Doncaster MER 3h 39min
XX:29 Nottingham Luton Airport Parkway, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, Beeston MER 1h 52min
extension to Lincoln (one service north/south) Lowdham (Northbound only), Newark Castle, Collingham MER 2h 52min
XX:58 Sheffield Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield MER 2h 1min
extension to Leeds (some peak services)Wakefield Westgate HST 3h 10min
An East Midlands Trains Class 222 Meridian passing Clay Cross, Derbyshire

London Services, (formally branded at Route 1) is the InterCity route on the Midland Main Line. The above table shows the service pattern from the December 2015 timetable change.[14]

The service pattern at the start of the franchise was of four off-peak departures from London: two fast (one to Sheffield and one to Nottingham), and two stopping (one to Derby and one to Nottingham). Sheffield peak-hour trains extended from and to Leeds, with weekend services also extending to York and Scarborough. One peak-hour Derby service was extended to Burton on Trent and one to Barnsley. EMT made no significant changes until the introduction of its December 2008 timetable.

From December 2008, EMT used the above service pattern (that shown in the box). There are five off-peak departures from London: two fast (one to Sheffield and one to Nottingham), one semi-fast (to Sheffield, extended from Derby from December 2009) and two stopping (one to Nottingham and one to Corby/Kettering). A smaller number of Sheffield peak-hour trains continue to extend from and to Leeds, with weekend services also extending to York and Scarborough. In addition a Nottingham service is extended to start from Lincoln, Monday to Saturday.[15] There were plans initially for two return services to Skegness through from London in the summer; however, these currently run through from Derby instead of London, because of speed restrictions around Boston. The Burton on Trent and Barnsley services ceased at the beginning of the December 2008 timetable, when Corby services began. One Corby service was extended to Melton Mowbray at the outset, and a second was added to Derby from May 2010.

In December 2013, the Midland Main Line officially started running at 125 mph in some areas, cutting journey times.

Named trains

Regional services

A Class 158 running a Liverpool to Norwich service
A Class 153 at Lincoln Central for Grimsby Town
Service Type Route Via
Express/Stopping Liverpool to Norwich/Nottingham Manchester Oxford Road & Piccadilly, Sheffield, Nottingham, Peterborough & Ely
Local stopping Nottingham to Mansfield Woodhouse/Worksop Hucknall, Mansfield
Local stopping Derby to Crewe Uttoxeter, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, Alsager
Local stopping Nottingham to Matlock Derby, Belper, Cromford
Local stopping Newark North Gate to Cleethorpes Lincoln Central, Grimsby Town
Local stopping Peterborough to Doncaster Sleaford, Lincoln Central
Local stopping Nottingham to Skegness Bingham, Sleaford, Boston
Local stopping Leicester to Lincoln Central Ivanhoe Line Stations (Leicester - Loughborough), East Midlands Parkway, Nottingham, Newark

East Midlands Trains runs Regional Services across the East Midlands. The Norwich to Liverpool trains unlike other regional trains are painted white like InterCity services. The Liverpool Lime Street via Manchester (Oxford Road and Piccadilly), Sheffield, Nottingham, Peterborough and Ely to Norwich service was historically provided by the Central Citylink service. Nottinghamshire County Council has consistently campaigned for better services between the four core cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham.[17][18] Network Rail's plans for the Manchester Hub would deliver extra train paths along the Hope Valley Line, enabling more trains to run from the North West to the East Midlands.[19] In December 2012, more carriages were provided for services between Manchester and Nottingham.[20]


Sheffield is now served twice an hour by faster, modern trains on the London route. Liverpool - Norwich route trains were doubled in 2011

Tickets are sold in advance, super off-peak, off-peak and anytime formats, the cheapest of these being advance fares. In addition, East Midlands Trains accept the wider Stagecoach Group's smart card scheme, branded "Stagecoach Smart".

Penalty fares

The company introduced a penalty fare scheme in late 2009, covering all mainline stations served by EMT from London to Sheffield via Corby, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Alfreton. It also includes small commuter stations such as Syston, Attenborough, and Duffield, which have been provided with a Pertis machine which must be used.


See also: Megatrain

Stagecoach Group, EMT's parent company, introduced Megatrain fares on its London routes on 2 January 2008[21] operating to/from London St Pancras International to Leicester, Loughborough, Derby, Nottingham, Chesterfield and Sheffield.

Megatrain fares have also been introduced on Route 2 between Sheffield, Chesterfield, Nottingham and Peterborough or Norwich.[22]


East Midlands Parkway is used as an interchange station for combined multi-modal journeys under the brand name "MegabusPlus", whereby passengers are carried by road coach from the cities in the north of England to East Midlands Parkway, where passengers transfer to rail for the service to London.[23]

Routes operated under the "MegabusPlus" brand are between London and:

The bus from Hull and Scunthorpe also had a stop at Doncaster at the launch of MegabusPlus, but due to lack of demand in Doncaster, the service no longer calls there.

Franchise commitments

Stagecoach had planned to spend more than £91 million on service improvements.[24]

Train services

St Pancras International, the London terminus of East Midlands Trains' services

As part of the 125 mph upgrade on the Midland Main Line (completed in 2013), faster trains now run from Nottingham and Sheffield to London St Pancras. The number of departures from London has also been increased from four to five an hour off-peak incorporating Corby services and extending the hours of operation with earlier arrival and later departures, to allow better connections with Eurostar at St Pancras.[24]


Leicester has received an enhanced service with earlier and later trains so that business travellers can connect with the continent.

More than £5 million has been pledged for station enhancements.[25] These include the opening of East Midlands Parkway station to serve East Midlands Airport. A new station has been opened at Corby.

The provision of Wi-Fi Internet at key stations including Leicester,[26] Derby,[27] and Sheffield. Installation of ticket barriers at four more stations including London St Pancras Domestic, Derby Midland, Nottingham and Sheffield.[28]

Derby's Etches Park train maintenance depot is in the process of an extensive upgrade.[29]

Introduction of smart card technology, similar to that used on South West Trains, at all London route stations and all those in the Leicester/Derby/Nottingham commuter triangle, and the installation of more self-service ticket machines across the network.[30]

East Midlands Trains also manage stations at which they do not operate services. These stations are all only served by CrossCountry. They are Hinckley, Narborough, South Wigston, Willington and Burton-on-Trent.

On board

Originally it was proposed to remove the buffet cars from High Speed Train sets as they are very heavy and used only to cook breakfast on some trains; they were to be replaced by an at-seat trolley service.[31] The company reviewed its decision and launched an enhanced catering service for the start of the May 2008 timetable.[32] Since September 2010 Rail Gourmet has provided all standard class catering on some regional routes, with the customer host on the Norwich to Liverpool services providing an enhanced first class service. WiFi has been available on all services from London since 5 September 2010.[33]


Stagecoach have targeted 90.3% (PPM) on London services and 87% (PPM) on Local services.[34] Previously the Central Trains franchise had had difficulties with timekeeping due to the high number of potential clashes with late running other services en route and use of insufficient stock, causing long dwell times at stations due to slow unloading and loading. Figures released rated Central Trains' performance at 87.8% for the PPM (Public Performance Measure) over the first quarter of the financial year 2007/8.[35] Latest figures released by NR (Network Rail) rated performance over the last year (up to 12 October 2013) at 91.5% (MAA) and 92.0% (PPM) for the seventh period of the financial year 2013/14.[36]

Rolling stock

The refurbished First Class interior aboard a Mark 3 Trailer First HST carriage
The refurbished Standard Class interior aboard a Mark 3 Trailer Standard HST carriage

Other than the lines to Liverpool and Manchester, no East Midlands Trains routes are electrified north of Bedford and all trains are diesel-powered.

East Midlands Trains inherited Midland Mainline’s InterCity 125 (HST) and Class 222 Meridian diesel-electric high-speed trains, along with some of the Sprinter diesel units (classes 153/156/158) formerly operated by Central Trains.

All Class 158 units have been refurbished in a style similar to sister company South West Trains' fleet, although with a higher seating capacity.[37][38]

The High Speed Train sets were refurbished over a sixty-week period. The refurbishment featured only a retrim of carpets, recovering of existing seats and new dado side panels, wall ends and seat-top hand grips being repainted. LED reading lights in first-class carriages were removed and the wheelchair-accessible toilets were not updated to meet the Disability Discrimination Act.

East Midlands Trains announced in March 2008 that it was to reform its Class 222 sets to prevent overcrowding. This saw the remaining 4-car Class 222 units receive an extra vehicle to become 5-car sets. This was accomplished by reducing one of the 8-car sets to a 5-car, with the remaining 8-car sets reduced to 7-cars. Extra capacity on long-distance routes is provided by running pairs of 5-car sets coupled together.[39]

Hull Trains made a decision to use only Class 180 Adelante units, with its Class 222 Meridian units transferring to East Midlands Trains.[40]

East Midlands Trains began the service from Corby on 23 February 2009.[41] Initially, this was made up of one train per day in each direction, using the existing Meridian fleet.[42] The full Corby service started on 27 April 2009.

The Sprinter fleet which EMT inherited at the start of the franchise was in a very poor state.[43] Problems ranged from basic and simple to major complicated faults. The fleet was put together from various sources - around four different previous companies, with some coming directly from passenger work but some that had been lying idle surplus to requirements off lease in sidings. East Midlands Trains has claimed that it will take the lifetime of the franchise to get the trains to a standard that it is happy with. In addition to the various sources of the trains, passenger figures given to the Department for Transport prior to the franchise were incorrect, leading to a shortfall in the number of seats provided (a 26% decrease in capacity on route 2[43]) compared with what was required.

Four additional Class 156 DMUs, leased from Angel Trains have been cascaded from Northern to enable more route 2 services to run as four-coach trains by using these cascaded Class 156s on Skegness services in lieu of Class 158s. From December 2012 when the Sprinter refurbishment programme is complete, all route 2 services between Liverpool and Nottingham will be able to operate as four-coach trains. In addition, from December 2011 the 13:52 from Liverpool will operate through to Norwich.[44]

Current fleet

Class Image Type Top speed Number Cars per set Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 43 High Speed Train Diesel locomotive 125 200 24 Variable InterCity Midland Main Line
Nottingham - Skegness (Summer Saturdays only)
Mark 3 Coach Passenger Coach 125 200 108 InterCity Midland Main Line
Nottingham - Skegness (Summer Saturdays only)
Class 153 Super Sprinter DMU 75 120 17 1 Regional Routes 1987–8
Class 156 Super Sprinter 75 120 15 2 Regional Routes 1987–9
Class 158 Express Sprinter 90 145 25 + 1 2 Regional Routes (Extra unit on long-term hire from South West Trains) 1989–92
Class 222 Meridian DEMU 125 200 4 4 InterCity 2003–5
17 5
6 7

Use of HSTs by UK Railtours

In 2011, charter operator UK Railtours began running charity excursions to various destinations using East Midlands Trains' HST fleet under the name of '125 specials'. Use of HSTs on excursions is nothing new as the trains have featured on such trips back in the 1980s and 1990s. The first trips were to the Mid-Norfolk Railway in May 2011 (the Mid-Norfolk Marauder) and to Skegness in September 2011 (the Jolly Fisherman). The fares paid for these 125 Specials (and the later 159 ones) go towards 'the Railway Children Charity'. Additionally the fares are significantly lower compared to UK Railtours' normal excursions (using loco-hauled trains) since it is run in co-operation with East Midlands Trains (who covers the leasing cost anyway), by contrast with the normal excursions the locomotive and carriages need to be hired from a rolling stock owner thus increasing costs. Additionally station dwell times are reduced since the HSTs have central locking controlled by the guard whereas on conventional loco hauled trains (using Mark 1 and early Mark 2 coaches) the doors have to be locked individually which can be time consuming. The 125 Specials were a huge success with UK Railtours running further trips including to the York Railfest in 2012 and to the Mallard 75 event in 2013. The success of these, the reduced costs compared to hiring locomotives and coaches and the good partnership with Stagecoach lead to UK Railtours to start running their '159 Specials' with South West Trains Class 159 DMUs. UK Railtours will be running further 125 Specials in the future.


Barrow upon Soar

On 1 February 2008, an East Midlands Trains Class 158 158856 from Nottingham to Norwich was involved in an incident at Barrow upon Soar. The train hit a footbridge in its path, after a road vehicle had struck and damaged the bridge causing it to be foul of the line. Six passengers were on board the service and the driver had to be cut free from the driving cab.[45]

Market Harborough incident

On 20 February 2010 an express from London St Pancras to Sheffield being operated by 222005 was derailed north of Market Harborough, causing track damage and major disruption to rail services for three days. East Midlands Trains put an emergency timetable into place, running services via Melton Mowbray on 21, 22 and 23 February. A complete safety check found no problems in the rest of the fleet.[46][47]


Train crew depots are located at:

Trains are maintained at:

Shunter drivers are employed by EMT at Derby, Nottingham and Leeds.

On-train catering for standard-class passengers on routes 1 and 2 is, as of September 2010, contracted out to Rail Gourmet, which has depots at Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Although all stations are owned by Network Rail, their day-to-day management is handled by Train Operating Companies. EMT manage the following stations: Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby, Market Harborough, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Stamford, Narborough, Hinckley, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Derby, Kidsgrove, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Beeston, Nottingham, Alfreton, Sleaford, Boston and Skegness. They also have staff at St Pancras International, although the station itself is managed by Network Rail

See also


  1. Companies House extract company no 5340682 East Midlands Trains Limited
  2. New Cross Country Franchise Consultation Document Department for Transport June 2006
  3. Central Trains franchise extended BBC News 2 April 2006
  4. Hong Kong bid to run Midland trains The Telegraph 19 September 2006
  5. Virgin prepares for rail franchise battle The Guardian 19 September 2006
  6. "Department for Transport announces winner of East Midlands franchise". Department for Transport. 22 June 2007.
  7. "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
  8. "New East Midlands direct award franchise agreed". Railway Gazette. 16 September 2015.
  9. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/523791/may-2016-rail-franchise-schedule.pdf
  10. "More services and extra capacity for the Midlands" (Press release). Department for Transport. 22 June 2007.
  11. Train Sardine campaign, www.trainsardine.org.
  12. "25 Nov 2008: Column 603". Hansard. 25 November 2008.
  13. "25 Nov 2008: Column 1189W". Hansard. 25 November 2008.
  14. East Midlands Trains Departure Patterns
  15. "Direct Lincoln to London train link begins". Lincolnshire Echo. Lincoln. 15 December 2008.
  16. 1 2 "Passengers and staff name two new business trains for Sheffield". East Midlands Trains. 9 October 2008.
  17. "Network RUS: Scenarios and Long Distance Forecasts – Nottingham City Council Consultation Response - point 5" (PDF). Nottingham City Council. Network Rail. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  18. "125mph trains to cut journey times". Nottingham Evening Post. 12 April 2008.
  19. "£530m rail investment proposed for North England cities" (Press release). Network Rail. 16 February 2010.
  20. "More seats now available on our services between Liverpool and Nottingham". East Midlands Trains. 9 December 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  21. "East Midlands Trains announces brand new low cost fares starting at just £1!". East Midlands Trains. 28 November 2007.
  22. "From the New Year passengers can visit more destinations with East Midlands Trains for a crazy credit crunching price of just £1!". East Midlands Trains. 4 December 2008.
  23. "Britain's 'greenest' mainline station opened by Hoon". Rail News. Stevenage. 26 January 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
  24. 1 2 "Plans for the future of the East Midlands franchise". Stagecoach Group. 23 June 2007.
  25. Plans for the Future, East Midlands Trains.
  26. "Free WiFi for First Class passengers at Leicester station" (Press release). East Midlands Trains. 3 July 2008.
  27. "Free WiFi for First Class passengers at Derby station" (Press release). East Midlands Trains. 3 July 2008.
  28. "Installation of gates at Sheffield station" (Press release). East Midlands Trains. 2 July 2008.
  29. "East Midlands Trains announces £20M depot upgrade contract award" (Press release). East Midlands Trains. 4 November 2008.
  30. "East Midlands Trains introduces the first of 45 brand new ticket vending machines" (Press release). East Midlands Trains. 24 October 2008.
  31. "East Midlands Trains saves the great British breakfast". East Midlands Trains. 25 April 2008. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
  32. "East Midlands Trains listens to SOS plea from passengers!". East Midlands Trains. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  33. "East Midlands Trains starts roll out of on board WiFi". East Midlands Trains. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  34. "About East Midlands Trains franchises better performance". East Midlands Trains
  35. National Rail Trends Office of Rail Regulation
  36. "Rail performance results period 7". Network Rail.
  37. "East Midlands Trains awards refurbishment contract to local company". East Midlands Trains. 19 June 2008. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
  38. "East Midlands Trains reveal first refurbished train". East Midlands Trains. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  39. "East Midlands Trains Class 222 reformations". The Railway Centre. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
  40. Modern Railways Issue 772 November 2008
  41. "Train service will leave from Corby this month". Northants Evening Telegraph. Kettering. 9 February 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  42. "New Corby rail service up and running". Northants Evening Telegraph. Kettering. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  43. 1 2 Today's Railways magazine, UK 75 edition, page 30
  44. http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Guide%202%20Tables%20May11%20PDF%20web.pdf
  45. "Train Driver Critically Injured After Lorry Smashes Into Bridge". Sky News. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
  46. Robinson, Jo (22 February 2010). "Investigation begins into train derailment". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  47. "Trains investigation may take a year". Harborough Mail. 21 February 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2010.

External links

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Preceded by
Central Trains
Central franchise
Operator of East Midlands franchise
2007 - present
Preceded by
Midland Mainline
Midland Main Line franchise
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