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There are now just four weeks to go until East Midlands Trains launches its new faster train services to London as the result of a £70m line speed improvement scheme being carried out in partnership with Network Rail.
Journey times to London will be reduced as trains start to operate at 125 mph on certain parts of the route for the first time.
Passengers travelling from Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Nottingham, East Midlands Parkway, Leicester and Loughborough will be amongst those to benefit from the new improved timetable being launched by East Midlands Trains.
The programme of work being completed by Network Rail includes replacement of some level crossings with bridges, minor re-signalling and work to realign parts of the track. This will allow East Midlands Trains to reduce the average weekday journey time between Sheffield and London by seven minutes, between Nottingham and London by five minutes and between Derby and London by four minutes. The fastest train from Sheffield to London will reduce to just two hours, whilst the fastest journey time from Nottingham to London will reduce to 1 hour 31 minutes.
David Horne, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: "Along with our partners Network Rail, we've been working on a significant improvement scheme to deliver faster journey times from some of the key cities and towns on our network. Almost £70 million is being spent to enable our trains to run at speeds of up to 125 mph on certain sections of our route, which will enable passengers in Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham and many other towns to benefit from faster journeys to London. This is a hugely exciting scheme that will deliver benefits for the local economy and allow us to deliver a much improved service for our customers.
"Following the improvements made over the summer, we now have a railway around Nottingham that has modern, new infrastructure that will enable more capacity on the network and allow us to continue to grow passenger numbers which all helps to improve the economies of the areas we serve.
“With the line speed improvement programme delivering faster journeys to London from December and electrification around the corner, this is a great step forward for our region and will deliver some significant improvements for our passengers in Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham and many other towns on our network."
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, added: "We are investing £70million improving journey times on the Midland Main Line. This involves work on track and structures such as bridges and platforms to allow them to accommodate faster running. We are also removing a number of level crossings which helps increase line speed. The project will allow trains to run up to 125 miles on sections of the route, bringing significant social and economic benefits to the East Midlands."
Copies of the new timetable are now available at East Midlands Trains stations and online at eastmidlandstrains.co.uk. In addition to the improved journey times, there will also be changes to many of the departure times and connection times. Passengers are therefore strongly advised to check the new timetable and passenger information provided at stations and on the website before the new timetable launches on 9 December.