To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the number of stopping services at East Midlands Parkway to support the growth of (a) the East Midlands Airport and (b) the economy in that region; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of specifying an increase in the number of stopping services at that station in the upcoming tender for that franchise in order to better serve passengers using East Midlands Airport.
The Government and rail industry are investing in the biggest improvement in rail travel since the Victorian era, including through the upgrade of the Midland Main Line. This programme will improve rail journeys for passengers using the Midland Main Line to travel into London St Pancras.
In developing the specification for the next East Midlands franchise it is important that airport passenger services are properly considered. We are considering options for future rail services to and from East Midlands Parkway and my Department has engaged with East Midlands Airport to understand their proposals. In our public consultation, held last summer, we asked stakeholders how the train service could be better at meeting the needs of passengers travelling to and from airports within the East Midlands.
The consultation closed on 11 October 2017. All options for rail services in the next franchise are subject to analysis of the potential benefits and the outcome of our consultation with stakeholders. Thus, no decisions have been made on rail services that will be specified for the next franchise. Any outcome will seek to secure the best value for money for the taxpayer and be in the best interests of rail passengers.
The next franchise is planned to start in August 2019. Invitations to Tender (ITT) are due to be issued to potential bidders later this year. The ITT will set out the minimum requirements and provide the baseline that we expect the next franchise to build on.