Harborough rail users
Improving the quality of Market Harborough's rail service
Abellio EMR – East Midlands Railway – was officially launched on Monday 19th August at an all-day launch event starting with a media reception at Leicester station. This was followed by presentations from numerous speakers at the Roundhouse conference centre in Derby, after which a newly re-liveried Meridian train was unveiled at Derby station. Invited guests, including Harborough Rail Users Chair Steve Jones (in his capacity as Railfuture East Midlands Branch Secretary) travelled on the train to Nottingham and then to St Pancras, at each of which were further media events and presentations. At St Pancras, partnership agreements were signed between Abellio and HS1 (whose London terminus is at St Pancras) and Luton Airport.
Many organisations from the East Midlands, including rail industry bodies, rail user representative groups, local authorities and other interested parties were present. The event gave a good opportunity to meet people from these organisations as well as senior Abellio and EMR management. It was all very well organised and sets the scene for the next stage in the development of our railway and the services on it.
In a press release, EMR promise 'More services with faster journey times on intercity routes and better regional and local services, especially including at peak times and weekends from St Pancras to Leicester and Market Harborough'. Harborough Rail Users will be seeking to meet EMR before too long, now they are in place as our train operator. We want to explore their plans for our station and train services, especially from 2020 as the HSTs are withdrawn and the Corby electrification comes into service.
EMR Interim Managing Director Julian Edwards with the newly branded EMR Meridian train at Derby shortly before its inaugural run to Nottingham and St Pancras. (Photo: Steve Jones)
Senior representatives of Abellio, HS1 Ltd and Luton Airport proclaim the partnerships signed at St Pancras during the EMR launch event on 19th August. (Photo: Steve Jones)
Abellio EMR, who take over the East Midlands Railway franchise on 18th August, have today confirmed that they have ordered a complete new fleet of inter-city trains for the Midland Main Line, which serves Market Harborough. The £400m contract is for a fleet of 33 five-car trains, which will start operating in 2022. They will regularly operate in 10-car formations (two units coupled together) and will operate on electric power where possible and diesel elsewhere. The trains will be built by Hitachi in County Durham and are the latest version of a type of train entering service with numerous other operators across the country including GWR and LNER.
An image of the new train appears below, courtesy of Abellio and Hitachi.
Abellio, who take over from East Midlands Trains on 18th August 2019, have released details of the new brand and livery for our rail service. It will be known as East Midlands Railway (EMR), with a deep purple livery and house-style. The new East Midlands Railway name has been designated as a long term and enduring brand for this and successive East Midlands railway franchises. In other words, it is intended to apply irrespective of any future operator, in much the same way as London buses are all red no matter which company is actually operating them.
According to Abellio:
The EMR brand has white lettering with a ‘lavender’ shadow as its primary logo colours. The colour scheme is contemporary but pays respect to the strong and proud railway heritage of the East Midlands. Each train carriage will have distinct markings to reflect three distinct market segments:
East Midlands Trains (EMT) continue to operate our trains until 17th August and the EMT name and brand remain unchanged until then.
Abellio has been confirmed by the Department for Transport as the new operator for the East Midlands franchise, starting on 18th August 2019. This follows the 'standstill' period after they were announced as the winning bidder. In a press statement issued on 9th May, Abellio said:
"Abellio will invest £600 million including: brand new bi-mode intercity trains between the East Midlands, the North and London; a high-quality, dedicated, electric train service between London, Luton Airport and Corby; and the introduction of faster, modern, refurbished trains across the whole network. This investment will also see transformed stations, improved ticketing and accessibility, enhanced training and benefits for employees, including 30 new apprenticeships each year for young people. There will be closer working with Network Rail to maximise the benefits of the ongoing £1.5 billion Midland Main Line upgrade."
We look forward to meeting Abellio at an early stage, and working with them as they replace the train fleet and participate in the upgrade of the Midland Main Line.