East Midlands Railway
East Midlands Railway logo.svg
Leicester - Abellio 222104 Lincoln service.JPG
Class 222 at Leicester in EMR Intercity livery
  • East Midlands
  • 18 August 2019 – 16 October 2030[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

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.


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]

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

Franchise suspension and termination agreement

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for Transport assumed responsibility for all revenues and costs and EMR was paid a management fee.[10] This was superseded by an Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) under which the original franchise agreement was terminated.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.[13] Following this the company was given a direct award of a four-year National Rail Contract, with the option of extending it for a further period of up to four years.[2]


EMR was one of several train operators impacted by the 2022-2023 United Kingdom railway strikes, which was the first national rail strike in the UK for three decades.[14] Its workers were amongst those who participated in industrial action due to a dispute over pay and working conditions.[15]


Route map of the East Midlands Railway network
Route map of the East Midlands Railway network
A vector map of EMR InterCity and EMR Connect services
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. 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,[16] 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.[17] The Barton line was expected to transfer from Northern in 2019 but this was delayed until May 2021.[18][19]

On 19 June 2021, the EMR Regional services were cut to enable the timetable to run effectively.[20] Although EMR said that 85% of services were still running, there was still an impact to local commuter services.[21]

Contactless payment cards can be used between London St Pancras International and Luton Airport Parkway.[22]

Over the course of the franchise, several planned timetable changes are to be made:[16]

As of December 2022, East Midlands Railway's off-peak services Monday-Friday include:[23]

EMR InterCity
Route tph Calling at
London St Pancras InternationalNottingham 2
London St Pancras InternationalSheffield 2
EMR Connect
Route tph Calling at
London St Pancras InternationalCorby 2
EMR Regional
Route tph Calling at
DerbyMatlock 1
CreweNewark Castle 1
LeicesterLincoln 12
LeicesterGrimsby Town 12
Newark NorthgateLincoln 5tpd
NottinghamSkegness 1
NottinghamWorksop 1
PeterboroughLincoln 1
PeterboroughDoncaster 12
Liverpool Lime StreetNorwich 1
Barton-on-HumberCleethorpes 12

Rolling stock

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.[24] 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.[25][26] 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.[27] The Connect service is operated by ex-Greater Anglia Class 360s.[28][29]

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 810 Aurora.[30]

Current fleet

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes operated and notes Built
mph km/h
Shunting locomotive
Neville Hill - EMT 08908 (cropped).jpg
Shunter 15 24 4 N/A
  • Stock movements
EMR InterCity
222 Meridian Bombardier Voyager
222020 at Wellingborough Station.jpg
DEMU 125 200 23[31] 5 2003–2005
4[31] 7
222 1 EMR Interim.png
222-0 7 car EMR Interim Livery.png
180 Adelante Alstom Coradia
DHMU 125 200 3[32] 5 2000–2001
1[32] 4
180 EMR Interim Livery.png
EMR Connect
360 Desiro Siemens Desiro
CL360 KET.jpg
EMU 110 180 21[32] 4 2002–2003
Class 360 East Midlands Railway Electrics livery updated.png
EMR Regional
156 Super Sprinter Sprinter
Matlock Bath - Abellio 156406 (Stagecoach colours).JPG
Nottingham - EMR 156413 off to Skegness.jpg

Leicester - EMR 156406 arriving from Lincoln.jpg
DMU 75 120 11[33][a] 2
  • Regional routes
Class 156 East Midlands Railway Ex-EMT Plain Blue Diagram.png
East Midlands Railway Class 156 Purple.png
158/0 Express Sprinter
Sheffield - Abellio 158770+158705 Stagecoach livery.JPG

Derby - EMR 158773 arriving from Matlock.jpg

90 145 26[32] 2
  • Regional routes
Class 158 East Midlands Railway Diagram.png
170 Turbostar Bombardier Turbostar
Nottingham - EMR 170417 Worksop service.jpg
100 161 8[34] 3
  • Regional routes
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 3-Car Diagram.png
East Midlands Railway Class 170 (EMR Regional Livery).jpg
100 161 16[32] 2
  • Regional routes
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 2-Car Diagram.png
  1. ^ 9 in service

Future fleet

To replace the Class 180 and Class 222 units, 33 5-carriage Class 810 bi-mode trains will be introduced in 2023.[35][36] In May 2020, EMR opened a competition to give the class their own unique brand name.[37] In October 2020, EMR announced that the fleet will have the 'Aurora' brand.[38]

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.[39][40][41][42] 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.[17][43] It was expected that 12 Class 171 units would transfer from Southern.[39][44][45] 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.[39][43] 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 to Class 170s, reformed into 3-carriage sets and work alongside the rest of the fleet.[42] Three of these units were transferred to EMR on 7 September 2022 having been reformed from their previous two-and-four-car formations.[34] The fourth unit is due to transfer in late 2023 as 170421.[46]

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes operated In service
mph km/h
EMR InterCity
810 Aurora Hitachi AT300
EMR AT300.jpg
BMU 125 200 33[47] 5 2023[48]
EMR Regional
170 Turbostar Bombardier Turbostar
East Midlands Railway Class 170 (EMR Regional Livery).jpg
DMU 100 161 11[49][a] 2
  • Regional routes
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 2-Car Diagram.png
100 161 8 3
  • Regional routes
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 3-Car Diagram.png
British Rail Class 171 171722.jpg
100 161 1 3
  • Regional routes
Class 170 East Midlands Railway 3-Car Diagram.png
  1. ^ 170530-170535 formerly in 3 car formation

Past fleet

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.[50] 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.[51]

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.[52][53] These units were placed into storage at Long Marston and Ely Papworth Sidings in December 2021.[54]

In December 2022, four Class 156 units went off lease and were sent for storage at Barrow Hill, with East Midlands Railway stating that they will be moved to Ely Papworth sidings at a later date.[55][56]

Class Family Image Type Top Speed Number Cars Routes Withdrawn
mph km/h
EMR InterCity
43 (HST) InterCity 125
Leicester - Abellio 43055 (Stagecoach colours).JPG
Loco 125 200 24 N/A 2020
St Pancras - Abellio 43423-43465 (Stagecoach colours).JPG
Class 43 MTU- Nottingham.jpg
23 2020–2021
Mark 3
East Midlands Railway Mark 3 Overview.jpg
Coach 94[58] 2020
78[59] 2020–2021
EMR Regional
153 Super Sprinter Sprinter
Derby - Abellio 153383+153374+153308 (Stagecoach colours).JPG
DMU 75 120 21[58][60] 1
  • Regional routes
156 Super Sprinter
Matlock Bath - Abellio 156406 (Stagecoach colours).JPG
Nottingham - EMR 156413 off to Skegness.jpg
Leicester - EMR 156406 arriving from Lincoln.jpg
13[33] 2 2021-2022


EMR operates two depots: Derby Etches Park and Nottingham Eastcroft.[61] The Class 360s are maintained at Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot by Siemens Mobility.[62]


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.[63]


  1. ^ "National Rail Enquiries - East Midlands Railway". www.nationalrail.co.uk. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b "East Midlands Railway signs National Rail Contract". London: Abellio East Midlands. 6 October 2022. Retrieved 12 November 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. ^ "Prior information notice (PIN) for direct award of East Midlands Railway contract (corrigendum)" (PDF). Department for Transport. 18 October 2021. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  14. ^ "Rail strike: RMT union votes for national action". BBC News. 24 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  15. ^ "The dates of the train, Tube and bus strikes this week, and how services will be affected". inews.co.uk. 20 June 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  16. ^ a b East Midlands Rail Franchise Department for Transport
  17. ^ a b "EMR set to retain Liverpool – Nottingham service". Railway Gazette International.
  18. ^ East Midlands rail franchise consultation Department for Transport
  19. ^ May Milestone for MML Timetable Modern Railways issue 872 May 2021 page 23
  20. ^ "Amended Timetable across EMR Regional routes | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  21. ^ "East Midlands Railway announces cuts to services". BBC News. 18 June 2021.
  22. ^ "nationalrail.co.uk" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Timetables". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  24. ^ Cameron White. "WATCH: Final East Midlands Railway VP185 Class 43 locomotive at Chesterfield". Rail Advent. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  25. ^ Clinnick, Richard. "Cascaded LNER HSTs to plug the gap in East Midlands fleet". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  26. ^ First EMR HST replacement in service next week Railway Herald Issue 673 22 January 2020 page 8
  27. ^ "Introducing EMR Connect – more seats and a simpler timetable on our greenest ever fleet | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  28. ^ "EMR Connect: All electric train service launches next week | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk.
  29. ^ "EMR Connect: All electric train service launches this week". RailBusinessDaily. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  30. ^ "Enter the Aurora". www.modernrailways.com. 23 February 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021. (subscription required)
  31. ^ a b "CLASS 222". Eversholt Rail Limited. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  32. ^ a b c d e "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.
  33. ^ a b "Units (Class 156 'Super Sprinter')". Rail Express. No. 319. December 2022. P. 27.
  34. ^ a b "EMR EVOLVES FOR THE FUTURE". Modern Railways. No. 889. August 2022. pp. 51–56.
  35. ^ "Abellio invests £400 million in new Hitachi trains for East Midlands Railway". 30 July 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  36. ^ Abellio orders East Midlands inter-city fleet Railway Gazette International 30 July 2019
  37. ^ "EMR launches competition to name new Intercity fleet | EMR | East Midlands Railway". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  38. ^ "Aurora – the name for East Midlands Railway Class 810 trains". RailAdvent. 27 October 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  39. ^ a b c "Fleet Analysis (East Midlands Railway)". Railways Illustrated, issue 230 April 2022 page 48.
  40. ^ Clinnick, Richard. "Progress on new train fleets continues". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  41. ^ 153s acquired Modern Railways issue 874 July 2021 page 13
  42. ^ a b "Four GTR Turbostars moving to EMR". Modern Railways, June 2022 page 102.
  43. ^ a b "EMR takes stock". www.modernrailways.com. 5 October 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2021. (subscription required)
  44. ^ A New Era for the East Midlands as Abellio starts its fifth franchise Today's Railways UK issue 214 October 2019 page 26
  45. ^ Replacements sought for 171s Rail issue 889 9 October 2019 page 29
  46. ^ "Units (Southern introduces three-car '171s')". Rail Express. No. 319. December 2022. P. 27.
  47. ^ Pritchard, Robert, ed. (September 2019). "Hitachi Scoops Order for East Midlands". Today's Railways. No. 213. Sheffield: Platform 5. p. 6. ISSN 1475-9713.
  48. ^ "Aurora – the name for East Midlands Railway Class 810 trains". RailAdvent. 27 October 2020.
  49. ^ "CAF 'Civity' DMU enters service with West Midlands Trains". Rail Express. No. 319. December 2022. P9.
  50. ^ Double Paxman Demise Modern Railways issue 868 January 2021 page 50
  51. ^ Ex LNER 43 moved to Barrow Hill Rail issue 917 4 November 2020 page 31
  52. ^ "EMR introduce Class 156 fleet and own traincrew on Barton-on-Humber route". www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  53. ^ "East Midlands Railway introduces Class 156 trains on Barton-on-Humber route". RailAdvent. 13 December 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  54. ^ "Northern and East Midlands Railway Class 153 fleets stood down". Rail Express, February 2022 page 26.
  55. ^ Clinnick, Richard (20 December 2022). "Four former @EastMidRailway Cl.156s are bound for storage at Barrow Hill this week. 156470/473/497/498 are the DMUs involved". Twitter. Retrieved 21 December 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  56. ^ East Midlands Railway (20 December 2022). "They will be moving to Ely Papworth ^PB". Twitter. Retrieved 21 December 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  57. ^ Coward, Andy (editor) (2021). INTERCITY 125 HIGH-SPEED TRIBUTE. Pages 49-50.
  58. ^ a b "REVEALED: Every single heavy rail vehicle granted disability dispensation by DfT". Rail Magazine. 9 February 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  59. ^ "Cascaded LNER HSTs to plug the gap in East Midlands fleet". Rail Magazine. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  60. ^ "East Midlands Railway plans spring 2020 start for Class 170s". Rail. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  61. ^ A New Era for the East Midlands as Abellio starts its fifth franchise Today's Railways UK issue 214 October 2019 pages 24–26
  62. ^ "EMR Looks To 2020 Timetable Change". Modern Railways. 24 December 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  63. ^ 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.
Preceded byEast Midlands Trains Operator of East Midlands franchise 2019–2022 Succeeded byIncumbent