East Midlands Railway

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.

East Midlands Railway
Leicester - Abellio 222104 Lincoln service.JPG
Class 222 at Leicester in EMR Intercity livery
  • East Midlands
  • 18 August 2019 – 16 October 2022[2]
Main region(s)
Other region(s)East of England
Fleet size
Parent companyAbellio
Reporting markEM[1]
PredecessorEast Midlands Trains
Websitewww.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata


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]

  • EMR Intercity for long-distance services from London St Pancras
  • EMR Regional for services across the East Midlands
  • EMR Electrics for the outer suburban London St Pancras to Corby service

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

Franchise suspension and termination agreementEdit

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for Transport assumed responsibility for all revenues and costs and EMR was paid a management fee.[10] This was superseded by an Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) under which the original franchise agreement was terminated.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.[2] After this the company would be given the direct award of a four-year extension to its franchise, with the option to extend for up to four further years.[2]


Route map of the East Midlands Railway network
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 and York. 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,[13] 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.[14] The Barton line was expected to transfer from Northern in 2019 but this was delayed until May 2021.[15][16]

On 19 June 2021, the EMR Regional services were cut to enable the timetable to run effectively.[17] Although EMR said that 85% of services were still running, there was still an impact to local commuter services.[18]

Contactless payment cards can be used between London St Pancras International and Luton Airport Parkway.[19]

Over the course of the franchise, several planned timetable changes are to be made:[13]

  • earlier and later trains between Sheffield and Nottingham to East Midlands Parkway
  • earlier and later trains between Sheffield and London St Pancras and more regular evening service to London St Pancras
  • two trains per hour between Nottingham and Kettering
  • two trains per hour between Corby and London St Pancras
  • regular Sunday service between Corby and London St Pancras
  • Liverpool to Norwich split at Nottingham
  • Norwich to Nottingham extended to Derby
  • regular hourly Sunday service between Norwich and Derby
  • Crewe to Derby service extended to Nottingham and hourly service on Sundays
  • hourly Sunday service between Matlock and Nottingham
  • hourly service between Nottingham and Grimsby Town with limited extension to Cleethorpes
  • hourly Sunday service between Lincoln and Grimsby Town
  • hourly service between Nottingham and Newark Castle
  • hourly Sunday service between Worksop and Nottingham and later evening services on weekdays
  • additional peak services between Nottingham and Grantham
  • earlier and later trains between Nottingham and Boston
  • later evening service on weekdays and a new Sunday service
  • hourly through service between Doncaster and Peterborough via Lincoln
  • new Sunday service between Doncaster and Lincoln
  • enhanced Sunday service on Barton to Cleethorpes route
  • two trains per day between Lincoln and London St Pancras
  • Newark Northgate to Grimsby Town service cut back to Lincoln except to for the limited extension to Cleethorpes and timed to run with LNER's London Kings Cross – Lincoln service
EMR Intercity
Route tph Calling at Stock
London St Pancras – Nottingham 1
London St Pancras – Sheffield 1
  • Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield
EMR Connect
Route tph Calling at Stock
London St Pancras – Corby[20] 2 360
EMR Regional
Route tph Calling at Stock
Liverpool Lime StreetNorwich 1
MatlockNewark Castle 1
CreweDerby 1
LeicesterLincoln 12
Leicester – Grimsby Town 12
  • Syston, Sileby, Barrow-upon-Soar, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton (limited), Lowdham (limited) Fiskerton (limited) Rolleston (limited), Newark Castle, Collingham, Swinderby, Hykeham, Lincoln, Market Rasen, Barnetby, Habrough
  • Limited extension to Cleethorpes; only 1–2 trains each way per day.
Newark North Gate – Lincoln 1
  • Collingham, Swinderby, Hykeham
Nottingham – Skegness 1
Worksop – Nottingham 1
Mansfield Woodhouse – Nottingham 1
  • Mansfield, Sutton Parkway, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Newstead, Hucknall, Bulwell (Mansfield Woodhouse only)
Peterborough – Lincoln 1
  • Some trains extend to Doncaster (see below) or Newark North Gate (see above)
Peterborough – Doncaster Spalding, Sleaford, Ruskington, Metheringham, Lincoln, Saxilby (limited), Gainsborough Lea Road (limited)
Barton-on-HumberCleethorpes 12 156

Rolling stockEdit

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.[21] 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.[22][23] 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.[24] The Connect service is operated by ex-Greater Anglia Class 360s.[25][26]

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 810s.[27]

Current fleetEdit

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes operated and notes Built
mph km/h
Shunting locomotive
08   Shunter 15 24 4 N/A
  • Stock movements
EMR Intercity
222 Meridian Bombardier Voyager  
DEMU 125 200 23[28] 5 2003–2005
4[28] 7
180 Adelante Alstom Coradia   DHMU 125 200 3[29] 5 2000–2001
1[29] 4
EMR Connect
360 Desiro Siemens Desiro  
EMU 110 180 21[29] 4 2002–2003
EMR Regional
156 Super Sprinter Sprinter  
DMU 75 120 20[30][a] 2
  • Regional routes

158/0 Express Sprinter  


90 145 26[29] 2
  • Regional routes
170 Turbostar Bombardier Turbostar   100 161 5[29] 3
  • Regional routes
  100 161 8[29] 2
  • Regional routes
  1. ^ 18 in service

Future fleetEdit

To replace the Class 180 and Class 222 units, 33 5-carriage Class 810 bi-mode trains will be introduced in 2023.[31][32] In May 2020, EMR opened a competition to give the class their own unique brand name.[33] In October 2020, EMR announced that the fleet will have the 'Aurora' brand.[34]

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.[35][36][37][38] 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.[14][39] It was expected that 12 Class 171 units would transfer from Southern.[35][40][41] 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.[35][39] 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 back to Class 170s, reformed into 3-carrige sets and work alongside the rest of the fleet.[38]

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes operated In service
mph km/h
EMR Intercity
810 Aurora Hitachi AT300   BMU 125 200 33[42] 5 2023[43]
EMR Regional
170 Turbostar Bombardier Turbostar   DMU 100 161 16[a] 2
  • Regional routes
100 161 3 2
  • Regional routes
8 3
  100 161 4[38] 3
  • Regional routes
  1. ^ 170530-170535 formerly in 3 car formation

Past fleetEdit

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.[44] 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.[45]

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.[46][47] These units were placed into storage at Long Marston and Ely Papworth Sidings in December 2021.[48]

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes Withdrawn
mph km/h
EMR Intercity
43 (HST) InterCity 125   Loco 125 200 24 N/A 2020
  23 2020–2021
Mark 3   Coach 94[50] 2020
  78[51] 2020–2021
EMR Regional
153 Super Sprinter Sprinter   DMU 75 120 21[50][52] 1
  • Regional routes
156 Super Sprinter   4[38] 2 2021


EMR operates two depots; Derby Etches Park and Nottingham Eastcroft.[53] The Class 360s are maintained at Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot by Siemens Mobility.[54]


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.[55]


  1. ^ "National Rail Enquiries - East Midlands Railway". www.nationalrail.co.uk. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Prior information notice (PIN) for direct award of East Midlands Railway contract (corrigendum)" (PDF). Department for Transport. 18 October 2021. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  3. ^ "ABELLIO EAST MIDLANDS LIMITED". Companies House. HM Government. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  4. ^ Three prequalify for next East Midlands franchise Railway Gazette International 1 March 2017
  5. ^ Abellio joins East Midlands franchise shortlist Railway Gazette International 6 February 2018
  6. ^ First Group and Trenitalia pull out of East Midlands franchise contest International Railway Journal 23 April 2018
  7. ^ More seats, services and state-of-the-art trains for passengers on new East Midlands railway Department for Transport 10 April 2019
  8. ^ Pegden, Tom. "How Midland Mainline trains will soon look". Leicester Mercury. Reach plc. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  9. ^ "New train timetable from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough revealed for May electric revolution". Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  10. ^ Covid-19: government suspends rail franchise agreements The Guardian 23 March 2020
  11. ^ UK government announces the end of rail franchising Railway Gazette International 21 September 2020
  12. ^ Transitional ERMAs pave the way to management contracts Modern Railways 23 September 2020
  13. ^ a b East Midlands Rail Franchise Department for Transport
  14. ^ a b "EMR set to retain Liverpool – Nottingham service". Railway Gazette International.
  15. ^ East Midlands rail franchise consultation Department for Transport
  16. ^ May Milestone for MML Timetable Modern Railways issue 872 May 2021 page 23
  17. ^ "Amended Timetable across EMR Regional routes | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  18. ^ "East Midlands Railway announces cuts to services". BBC News. 18 June 2021.
  19. ^ "nationalrail.co.uk" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  20. ^ Duggan, Jamie (16 May 2021). "New East Midlands Railway Connect services feature electric trains between Corby and London St Pancras". Rail Advent. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  21. ^ Cameron White. "WATCH: Final East Midlands Railway VP185 Class 43 locomotive at Chesterfield". Rail Advent. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  22. ^ Clinnick, Richard. "Cascaded LNER HSTs to plug the gap in East Midlands fleet". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  23. ^ First EMR HST replacement in service next week Railway Herald Issue 673 22 January 2020 page 8
  24. ^ "Introducing EMR Connect – more seats and a simpler timetable on our greenest ever fleet | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  25. ^ "EMR Connect: All electric train service launches next week | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  26. ^ "EMR Connect: All electric train service launches this week". RailBusinessDaily. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Enter the Aurora". www.modernrailways.com. 23 February 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021. (subscription required)
  28. ^ a b "CLASS 222". Eversholt Rail Limited. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  29. ^ a b c d e f "East Midlands Railway fleet in focus (Table 2: EMR Fleet and how it is used: Mondays-Fridays)". TODAY'S RAILWAYS UK, issue 242 April 2022 page 31.
  30. ^ "Fleet Analysis (Northern)". Railways Illustrated, issue 230 April 2022 page 50.
  31. ^ "Abellio invests £400 million in new Hitachi trains for East Midlands Railway". 30 July 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  32. ^ Abellio orders East Midlands inter-city fleet Railway Gazette International 30 July 2019
  33. ^ "EMR launches competition to name new Intercity fleet | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  34. ^ "Aurora – the name for East Midlands Railway Class 810 trains". RailAdvent. 27 October 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  35. ^ a b c "Fleet Analysis (East Midlands Railway)". Railways Illustrated, issue 230 April 2022 page 48.
  36. ^ Clinnick, Richard. "Progress on new train fleets continues". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  37. ^ 153s acquired Modern Railways issue 874 July 2021 page 13
  38. ^ a b c d e "Four GTR Turbostars moving to EMR". Modern Railways, June 2022 page 102.
  39. ^ a b "EMR takes stock". www.modernrailways.com. 5 October 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2021. (subscription required)
  40. ^ A New Era for the East Midlands as Abellio starts its fifth franchise Today's Railways UK issue 214 October 2019 page 26
  41. ^ Replacements sought for 171s Rail issue 889 9 October 2019 page 29
  42. ^ Pritchard, Robert, ed. (September 2019). "Hitachi Scoops Order for East Midlands". Today's Railways. No. 213. Sheffield: Platform 5. p. 6. ISSN 1475-9713.
  43. ^ "Aurora – the name for East Midlands Railway Class 810 trains". RailAdvent. 27 October 2020.
  44. ^ Double Paxman Demise Modern Railways issue 868 January 2021 page 50
  45. ^ Ex LNER 43 moved to Barrow Hill Rail issue 917 4 November 2020 page 31
  46. ^ "EMR introduce Class 156 fleet and own traincrew on Barton-on-Humber route". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  47. ^ "East Midlands Railway introduces Class 156 trains on Barton-on-Humber route". RailAdvent. 13 December 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  48. ^ "Northern and East Midlands Railway Class 153 fleets stood down". Rail Express, February 2022 page 26.
  49. ^ Coward, Andy (editor) (2021). INTERCITY 125 HIGH-SPEED TRIBUTE. Pages 49-50.
  50. ^ a b "REVEALED: Every single heavy rail vehicle granted disability dispensation by DfT". Rail Magazine. 9 February 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  51. ^ "Cascaded LNER HSTs to plug the gap in East Midlands fleet". Rail Magazine. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  52. ^ "East Midlands Railway plans spring 2020 start for Class 170s". Rail. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  53. ^ A New Era for the East Midlands as Abellio starts its fifth franchise Today's Railways UK issue 214 October 2019 pages 24–26
  54. ^ "EMR Looks To 2020 Timetable Change". Modern Railways. 24 December 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  55. ^ Holden, Michael (22 September 2021). "East Midlands Railway says "poor quality entries" resulted in cancellation of competition, but breached ASA rules". RailAdvent. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Operator of East Midlands franchise
Succeeded by