East Midlands secures rail collaboration agreement with DfT

 

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a collaboration agreement giving local leaders in the East Midlands a greater voice in the management of rail services.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has signed off a multi-year agreement with Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) that provides local leaders with a formal voice in the management of the East Midlands franchise, which has been run by East Midlands Railway (EMR) since August 2019.

However, the DfT retains its existing role in monitoring and managing the delivery of the contract and all financial responsibility and accountability for the franchise.

”Local

As part of the agreement, the Government and TfEM are jointly funding two local rail officer roles, with responsibility to work closely with the department and local stakeholders.

'Employed by TfEM, one of the posts will lead stakeholder engagement with the DfT and East Midlands Railway to secure better outcomes for local communities and businesses while the other is a support post to gather, analyse and present performance data to help make the case for improvement and or investment,' the DfT said.

The collaboration agreement will last the length of the East Midlands Railways franchise, up to at least 2027, with a 12-month notice period on either side.

The new set up is designed to enhance the department’s management of the East Midlands franchise and provide a mechanism through which councils can review and address performance issues, positively influence investment decisions in the railway and call for improvements to services.

Mr Shapps said: 'This bespoke collaboration agreement delivers a railway truly focused on meeting the needs of the passengers who use it. It provides councils and local leaders with a greater voice in the management of the services which matter to them, helping deliver positive long-term changes focused on what passengers want.

'Our railways are at the heart of this country’s transport links and it is essential that we work closely with Transport for the East Midlands to deliver the modern, punctual and reliable journeys people expect.'

Will Rogers, managing director, East Midlands Railway, said: 'Working in partnership with our local partners is absolutely vital to ensure the railway meets the needs and supports the aspirations of our cities, towns and communities.

'We have worked closely with Transport for the East Midlands since the start of the franchise to develop and improve the service we provide. This further investment and formal collaboration agreement will further develop and strengthen our partnership as we invest to improve the railway across the East Midlands and beyond.'

Sir Peter Soulsby, chair of TfEM and City Mayor of Leicester said: 'I am delighted that we have been able to sign this landmark agreement with the Department for Transport, which builds on a process of collaboration going back several years to the earlier franchise competition.

'These are clearly challenging times for the railway but if we are to ‘build back better’ after COVID-19, then we will need to make sure that rail services enable local communities and businesses to thrive and that the local experience of rail travel is reflected in key decisions.'

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