ABELLIO HAS joined three other shortlisted bidders for the next East Midlands franchise.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced a shortlist of four bidders in a statement to the House of Commons. A previous shortlist of Arriva, a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia and incumbent operator Stagecoach had been announced in March 2017.

The new franchise is now due to start in August 2019. Stagecoach is currently operating East Midlands Trains under a direct award agreement, which is to be extended until April 2019, after which a further direct award is planned prior to the new franchise starting.