Readers of our piece regarding Abellio’s takeover of the MML (Midland Mainline) franchise will have noted the comment at the end.
Right now East Midlands Trains (of which Stagecoach is the current franchise holder) operates a fleet of elderly HSTs in addition to more modern Meridien trainsets, but the HSTs are supposed to be retired at the end of this year.
Today, Hitachi announced that it has secured the contract to build a fleet of new trains for the MML. The new trains will replace the existing MML rolling stock.
The bi-mode trains appear similar to those already in service with GWR, and other train firms will follow – see our rail feature ‘All Change’ in the September issue of Business Traveller.
Abellio assumes the East Midlands franchise next month.
It will be getting a total of 33 five-car units in a contract worth £400 million, and they will operate from 2022.
The Hitachi units will either run as five-car trains or, at busier times, operate in a 10-coach (two five-car units coupled together) formation.
They will operate mainline services which are those running out of London St Pancras to Sheffield, Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby and Leicester.
They are bi-mode because not all the MML is electrified.
Although the Meridien trainsets have plenty of life left in them, one wonders what will replace the HSTs at the end of 2019.
Will they be granted an extension until 2022, or will trainsets from other operators take their place?
The situation remains unclear.