RAIL operator Stagecoach, which runs the East Midlands Trains service between Sheffield and London’s St Pancras station, has seen its franchise extended to 2018, on the promise of a £13m investment in the line.
As part of a new deal with the Department for Transport, the firm will put £8m into improving stations and on-board services, and launching a mobile app for customers to buy tickets - similar to the one operated by First Hull Trains.
Stagecoach will pay the government £150m to run the franchise from next month to March 2018, with the possibility of a one-year extension.
Other changes under the new deal, announced this morning, include a freeze on all “anytime” fares to London until 2017, extra services between Nottingham and Newark, and more automatic ticket machines.
Stagecoach Group chief executive Martin Griffiths said: “This is a significant package of investment for customers travelling on East Midlands Trains. It will build on what our team has achieved over the past eight years and deliver further valuable improvements for the millions of passengers and many communities who rely on the East Midlands Trains network.”
Rail minister Claire Perry said: “This is a great deal for East Midlands Trains customers, and will mean significantly better journeys for passengers travelling around the region.
The latest official figures give East Midlands Trains an average performance and punctuality rating of 92.6%, compared with 87.8% for Virgin East coast, which runs services to London from Leeds, Doncaster and York.