UK: East Midlands Railway is to launch its EMR Connect sub-brand with the May 16 timetable change, covering its new electric service between London St Pancras and Corby.
This will be the TOC’s first electric route, with the twice-hourly service being operated using eight-car formations of Class 360 EMUs released from Greater Anglia. The intention had been to refurbish a number of the units, but delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic means this has not been possible; EMR says it is ‘fully committed to refurbish these trains as swiftly as possible’.
The trains will serve Luton Airport Parkway, Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby every 30 minutes on weekdays from 06.00, with services on Sunday afternoon also being significantly improved with a full weekday timetable after 14.00.
The electric service has been made possible by the completion of the £1·5bn Midland Main Line Upgrade by Network Rail, which included electrification between Bedford and Corby as well as an additional track between Kettering and Corby.
EMR has also confirmed a number of improvements to its regional services from the start of the new timetable on May 16, including the ‘phased introduction’ of more Class 170 DMUs and earlier and later journeys on a number of routes as well as additional services on Sundays.
EMR says the Class 170 Turbostars offer significant improvements compared to its current fleet, including wider doors and a more accessible layout. In due course the sets will be refurbished with power sockets, improved CCTV, enhanced information systems and better toilet interiors.
Improvements to EMR Regional services include:
- an extra train every hour between Derby and Nottingham, and additional hourly services for Beeston, Long Eaton and Attenborough;
- an additional weekday morning service from Matlock to Derby, achieved by starting an existing Ambergate – Derby train at Matlock;
- enhanced services for Spondon;
- later evening weekday services between Nottingham and Leicester;
- off-peak services from Leicester to Lincoln will be extended to Grimsby Town every 2 h on weekdays;
- more evening weekday services will run to Newark Castle from both Nottingham and Lincoln;
- Attenborough will gain an additional service every hour;
- weekday and Saturday Crewe – Derby services will run through to Nottingham and Newark Castle for the first time since 2007.
‘This new timetable represents an exciting new chapter for train services in the region and will bring significant benefits to the communities we serve’, said EMR Managing Director Will Rogers. ‘The £1·5bn Midland Main Line upgrade has allowed us to provide more seats, quicker journeys, and a simpler, more resilient timetable.
‘It has been an incredible team effort to put this timetable in place, especially during a period so heavily affected by Covid and that is why we are so proud to be able to launch this new timetable. It which will enable better regional and inter-city connectivity, helping people get to work and enjoy their leisure time, and boost our local economies at a time when it’s never been so important.’