Dutch firm Abellio takes over East Midlands rail franchise
Dutch-owned firm Abellio has taken over the East Midlands rail franchise, promising £600m of investment.
It won the eight-year contract after Stagecoach was disqualified from bidding as it refused to take on pension liabilities.
Abellio, owned by the Dutch government-owned rail firm, has promised new trains, 165 new carriages, and improved infrastructure.
East Midlands Trains will now be called East Midlands Railway (EMR).
The rail franchise had been operated by Stagecoach since 2007.
The company - owned by the state-owned operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen - already operates five other rail franchises, including Scotrail and Greater Anglia services between Norwich and London.
Part of Abellio's investment will include a complete overhaul of the rail stock, with new high-speed Hitachi intercity rail trains.
It said £400m would be spent on 33 five-carriage trains, which will include air conditioning, wi-fi and plug sockets for passengers.
The new intercity trains will begin serving cities and towns like Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Leicester, London, and Lincoln by 2022.
Abellio managing director Dominic Booth said: "[The new trains] will respond to what our passengers have told us they want with more frequent services, faster journeys between the East Midlands and London, and provide more capacity."
'Believe it when I see it'
Vicky Henry travels from Nottingham to London about eight times a year.
She said: "I'll believe [the investment] it when I see it. They always talk about investing money but the whole set-up of the network means any improvements come from the state, not the individual train operators."
One daily commuter from Burton-upon-Trent to Nottingham said: "Recently there have been a lot of delays and cancellations so I'm not particularly happy with the service.
"The investment is certainly welcome, and hopefully the delays can be either stopped or reduced so the trains can run a bit better."
Sophie Harrison frequently travels between Nottingham and Leicestershire.
The Nottingham Trent University student said: "New trains will make the railways more user-friendly, especially if there are more services."