East Midlands Railway's new timetable and all-electric service serving Bedford launches Sunday
EMR Connect will comprised eight carriage electric trains serving Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton and Luton Airport Parkway
East Midlands Railway (EMR) will launch its new all-electric service between Corby and London St Pancras this Sunday.
The new service will see eight-carriage electric trains serving Bedford every 30 minutes on weekdays from 6am.
And the company says Sunday services will also significantly improve, with a full weekday timetable running after 2pm.
Sunday will also mark EMR's return to its full pre-Covid timetable for the first time since March 2020.
EMR Connect is the company’s first electric route, reducing carbon emissions by 77 per cent and lowering noise levels for lineside neighbours. It also provides EMR’s sixth train to and from London every hour, up from the current five.
But the new trains will be slightly slower than the previous service available, and passengers travelling north of Kettering will need to make a northbound connection.
However, EMR says these connections will be twice an hour at the same times every hour, and with coordinated interchange times, the total journey time to Leicester and Nottingham will remain the same as today.
Plans to refurbish the trains, known as Class 360s, have also been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. EMR says it is fully committed to refurbishing these trains as swiftly as possible, with further details on the plans to follow.
The new timetable is made possible by the successful delivery of the £1.5 billion Midland Main Line Upgrade by Network Rail, which includes new overhead line equipment between Bedford and Corby, as well as an additional track between Kettering and Corby.
EMR Connect will comprise eight carriage electric trains serving Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton and Luton Airport Parkway.
It will provide more seats for passengers across the region – with further late night and early morning services – and will allow the reintroduction of peak services between Wellingborough and Bedford, meaning passengers will not need to use the replacement coach service.
Will Rogers, Managing Director of East Midlands Railway said: "We are delighted to be able to introduce our new all-electric EMR Connect service for our passengers travelling between Corby and London St Pancras.
“It will enable a significant reduction in carbon emissions and noise levels, while at the same time provide more seats, later services and a simpler and more resilient timetable.
"Its introduction will help to support leisure, business and tourism journeys and contribute to the region's recovery out of the pandemic."
Covid-safety measures will be in place, including more cleaners, powerful disinfectant products and new specialist fogging cleaning equipment.