The Anonymous Widower

Abellio East Midlands Railway’s Plans For London And Corby

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for Midland Main Line services to Corby.

Dedicated Corby – St Pancras Express Service Will Be Introduced From December 2020 With 12-car Trains In The Peaks

In 2020, the route between London and Corby will have been improved.

  • It will be fully electrified.
  • There will be double-track between Kettering and Corby.
  • Corby station will have a second platform.
  • 125 mph running will be possible in sections of the route between London and Corby.
  • Twelve-car trains indicate, that the rolling stock would be modern electric multiple units.

Possible trains include.

There must also be the possibility, for a train manufacturer to deliver enough new trains to run the London and Corby service.

To run the current hourly service, three trains are needed, so if each train was three four-car electric multiple units, nine trains would be needed.

As these electric trains will need to mix it with the 125 mph trains on the fast lines between St. Pancras and Kettering, 110 mph trains would probably be preferable.

Class 387 trains were originally mooted for this route, but they all seem to have been snapped up by other operators, who may be reluctant to let them go.

On the other hand, as I wrote in When Crossrail Opens To Reading, Will Great Western Railway Have Too Many Class 387 Trains?, Great Western Railway may have a few trains going spare.

The three other possible trains are both used in Abellio-run franchises.

  • ,Abellio Greater Anglia are replacing their thirty Class 379 trains with new Stadler Class 745/1 trains in 2019.
  • Abellio Greater Anglia are replacing their twenty-one Class 360 trains with new Bombardier Class 720 trains in 2020.
  • West Midlands Trains have a large fleet of Class 350 trains.

Greater Anglia’s plans currently give the order of the new Stadler fleet introduction as.

  • Four-car Class 755/4 trains
  • Twelve-car Class 745/0 trains for London and Norwich services
  • Three-car Class 755/3 trains
  • Twelve-car Class 745/1 trains for London and Stansted services

All trains are to be introduced by the end of 2020.

The Bombardier Class 720 trains are also planned to be introduced by the same date, starting this Autumn.

Could this mean that it is likely that nine Class 379 or Class 360 trains could be available before the end of 2019?

If Class 379 or Class 360 trains are used to Corby, it would allow a very relaxed train introduction.

There could be at least a year, to turn the trains into perfect trains for a high-capacity London and Corby service.

I think using Class 387 and Class 350 trains wouldn’t be so simple.

As the Class 745/1 trains for London and Stansted could be the last to be delivered, which might delay the release of the Class 379 trains, could this explain the rumours for using the Class 360 trains, between London and Corby.

There is also an interesting possibility.

Suppose, Abellio decided to order 125 mph trains from Stadler identical to the Class 745/0 trains between London and Norwich on the route between London and Corby.

  • Stadler probably knows how to upgrade the trains to 125 mph, as there are electric Flirts in Norway with this performance.
  • Greater Anglia have invested heavily in driver simulators and training aids for their Stadler trains.
  • By the end of 2019, they will be running Class 745/0 trains between London and Norwich.

With different colours and a few route-specific details, the London and Norwich Class 745/0 trains, would surely be more than acceptable for London and Corby.

Stadler would surely be able to build the extra trains before the Stansted trains. This would mean that the unwanted Class 379 trains would have to soldier on to Stansted for a few more months.

125 mph Class 745 trains would be a magnificent upgrade to the London and Corby service.

Corby – London Service Doubled To Two Trains Per Hour All Day

This would mean the need would be eighteen four-car trains. or six twelve-car trains.

There are enough Class 379 and Class 360 trains, but obtaining the originally-planned Class 387 trains could be problematic.

Building the three extra new trains would not be a problem.

Kettering, Luton And Luton Airport Parkway Services Provided With 2 Trains Per Hour for Most Of The Day


  1. Luton station is on the latest list of stations to be made step-free by 2024.
  2. Luton Airport has been agitating for more fast trains to and from London and now gets a half-hourly express.
  3. Luton Airport Parkway station will have the Luton DART connection to the Airport in 2021.
  4. Class 379 trains are designed for airport services.

It appears to be a better service for passengers.

Enhanced Sunday Service Throughout The Route With Regular Direct Sunday Services Between London And Corby

No passenger complaints here.

Refurbished Modern Express Trains From December 2020

Features include.

  • Increased capacity
  • More reliable service
  • Improved comfort
  • Passenger information system
  • Free on-board Wi-Fi
  • At-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • Air conditioning
  • Tables at all seats
  • Increased luggage space
  • On-board cycle storage

What more could passengers want?

Many of these features are already installed in the Class 379 trains and would be no problem.

  • When I rode the BEMU Trial train between Maningtree and Harwich, the information on the Class 379 train was word perfect.
  • The trains are reliable and comfortable.
  • Wi-fii, power sockets, air-conditioning and increased luggage space are already fitted.
  • The trains have lots of tables, but not at every seat.

These are a selection of pictures of the interior of a Class 379 train.

Updating the interior of the trains would not be a major problem.

Class 360 Trains Would Need A Substantial Refurbish

If Class 360 trains were to be used to Corby, they would need a substantial refurbish, but the general feeling is that this would be possible and there is a year to do it.

iNew-Build Class 745 Trains

With a small fleet of new-build Class 745 trains, the customer would get what they want! – Tables, 2+2 seating, wi-fi sockets etc.

The Greater Anglia London and Norwich specification would be a good starting point.

Will The Class 379 Trains Be Fitted With Batteries?

The BEMU Trial in 2015, showed that this was feasible. Abellio was involved in this trial and must have their own views on the technology.

  • Depots are safer places.
  • Electrification can be simpler.
  • Regenerative braking can be handled on the train without using the overhead wires for return currents.
  • Batteries increase train efficiencies.

This picture shows, the wires are going up at Corby.

So it doesn’t look like battery power will be used to Corby.

But batteries could still be fitted for efficiency and safety reasons or possibly to power the trains to Oakham and Melton Mowbray.

What About The Rumour Suggesting Class 360 Trains Will Be Used?

These are some pictures of a Class 360 train.


  • The Class 360 trains have a 2+3 interior with few if any tables.
  • If Bombardier deliver the Class 720 trains, later than planned, availability of the Class 360 trains for Corby could be tight.
  • Could they be prated to 110 mph trains, if that was felt necessary?

I feel that there would be a lot more work to prepare the trains for Corby and a higher chance, they would be late!

I think except as a stop-gap, it is unliklely that Class 360 trains will be used between London and Corby.

Will The Trains Be Replaced In A Few Years?


  • The London and Corby route is 79.5 miles long and takes 75 minutes with four stops, which is an average speed of 64 mph.
  • At present, services between London and Corby are run using 125 mph Class 222 trains.
  • The Class 222 trains have better acceleration than an InterCity 125 and much better acceleration than a Class 360 train.
  • The London to Corby route is a less-than-125 mph route.
  • Network Rail ia currently improving the electrification between London and Bedford, so that the route between London and Corby will be an electrified 125 mph route.
  • None of the trains being considered for the service between London and Corby is faster than 110 mph.

Does all this mean that Corby services might be slower after electrification?

  • Will the 125 mph upgrade to the track and electrification ensure the electric trains are faster, even if they are 100 mph trains.
  • Well-driven 100-110 mph trains might be as fast.

However, the Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield expresses might be slowed, just as they are by the 100 mph Thameslink trains.

In the article in Issue 877 of Rail Magazine, four manufacturers are suggested for the bi-mode trains that will be used between London and Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield from 2022.

  • Bombardier
  • Hitachi
  • Stadler
  • Talgo

Hitachi are the only manufacturer with 125 mph bi-mode trains on the UK Network.

They have a near-identical bi-mode Class 802 train and an all-electric Class 801 train.

  • Both are capable of 125 mph running.
  • Conversion between the two trains involves changing the number of engines.
  • Drivers are probably trained to drive both types of train.

Ideally, on the Midland Main Line, electric trains could run to Corby, with bi-mode trains running to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

So when the 125 mph bi-mode trains are delivered in 2022, would it be sensible to run their 125 mph electric cousins to Corby?

  • South of Market Harborough, all East Midlands Railway trains would be 125 mph electric trains, running on 125 mph tracks.
  • One tph between London and Corby would need three twelve-car trains.
  • Two tph between London and Corby would need six twelve-car trains.

If that is the case, then whatever train is run to Corby from December 2020, is only a stop-gap for a couple of years, where only nine four-car trains would be needed.

Would it be more economic in the long term to place the order for the bi-mode trains, with a manufacturer, who can deliver three all-electric trains by December 2020?

I believe Stadler could do that!


I’m fairly certain, that services between London and Corby could be run by refurbished Class 379 trains.

As there is plenty of time before service introduction, this could be a very relaxed and painless introduction of new trains. Unlike some others recently.

There may even be time to upgrade the top speed of the trains, so they fit in better with East Midlands Railway’s 125 mph expresses.

I wouldn’t be surprised, if East Midlands Railway brought in Class 379 or Class 360 trains as a stop-gap and replaced them with electric versions of the bi-modes in 2022.

But the best solution would be to obtain three twelve-car all-electric versions of the bi-modes by December 2020, to run the initial service.

  • Hitachi has a 125 mph electric Class 801 train and a 125 mph bi-mode Class 802 train.
  • Stadler has a 125 mph electric version of Greater Anglia’s Class 745 train and I suspect a compatible 125 mph bi-mode train.
  • Bombardier are working on a 125 mph bi-mode Aventra and have been quoted as saying Aventras can be stretched to 125 mph.

It will be interesting to see what trains East Midlands Railway chooses.

But I think Stadler Class 745 trains are a distinct possibility.

  • Abellio will have experience of running these trains and training drivers and other staff.
  • 125 mph trains could be almost identical to those on London and Norwich services.
  • Stadler have built 125 mph electric Flirts for Norway.

By juggling production a bit, they could be delivered on time for a December 2020 start of services.

April 14, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] Abellio’s Plans For London And Corby, I suggested that Class 379 trains could be used on the route and that the trains might be fitted […]

    Pingback by Abellio’s Plans For London And Melton Mowbray Via Corby And Oakham « The Anonymous Widower | April 14, 2019 | Reply

  2. Alt Wiull be double tracked … Typo

    Luton to become step free by 20214 -.Thats what I call a deferred date !

    Comment by Melvyn | April 14, 2019 | Reply

  3. Is it definite a second platform at Corby is to be built please.
    Not reported is the need for longer opening times at Corby station booking office Closing at 1pm weekdays is wrong for this expanding rail service.

    Comment by David Fursdon | June 25, 2019 | Reply

    • I understood a second platform and a bridge were to be built! Corby is close enough to London to be in the contactless card area. Ticketing is always dodgy where Stagecoach is the franchise holder. For instance, when you walk up and buy a ticket, the only option presented is First Class. I never use their ticket machines as other companies have better more user-friendly ones.

      Comment by AnonW | June 25, 2019 | Reply

  4. […] Abellio East Midlands Railway’s Plans For London And Corby, I came to this […]

    Pingback by East Midlands Railway’s New Look « The Anonymous Widower | July 3, 2019 | Reply

  5. thanks for this page & info. I’m a daily traveler to London St Panc from Kett and it was confirmed to me today that the Corby>London trains would be 360’s. Not sure what that means for my comfort, but have a feeling I’ll miss the tatty Meridians…

    Comment by cereus | August 20, 2019 | Reply

    • The trouble with the 360s is all the following.

      1. They have 2+3 seating.
      2. They don’t have any tables.
      3. The trains only have a 100 mph top speed and will thus get in the way of the 125 mph bi-modes, like Morris Minors in the fast lane of the M1.
      4. Surely, if one division of Abellio thinks they are to be passed on, another division of Abellio wouldn’t want them.
      5. Compared to an Aventra, AT-300 or Flirt, they aren’t sexy and lack customer appeal.

      6. They couldn’t take advantage of sections of the route between London and Corby, that allows 125 mph running.

      7. The station stop times might be slower than say an Aventra or a Flirt.

      So what do they have to recommend themselves?
      They are reliable, but above all they are available and probably very cheap.
      I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 360s come in for a year or so and then be replaced with a 125 mph electric train. The new trains could even have a battery capability, so that they could reach Oakham and Melton Mowbray on battery power from Corby.
      Nothing has been said about East Midlands Railway’s promised hydrogen powered train.
      A Dutch driver of a Stadler GTW told me that hydrogen trains could appear in the North of the Netherlands.
      So can we assume that Stadler are playing with zero-carbon gases? If we accept they are, will Stadler come up with a range-extenderd 225 mph hydrogen-hybrid train that can reach Melton Mowbray from Corby?
      EMR will keep their promise and there 125 mph electrics, with fast station stop times to Corby.

      One collateral benefit could be that the Corby services will have an additional stop at Luton Airport Parkway, which would suit the Airport’s demands.

      These trains could also reach Leicester from London, as Market Harborough to Leicester is only sixteen miles.

      Suppose there were two fast electric trains per hour (tph) to both Corby and Leicester with a stop at Luton Airport Parkway. The Airport would get four fast tph, probably from the same platform at St. Pancras.

      Additional services to the North would start at Leicester using the bi-modes.

      St. Pancras would have the following services.

      2 tph – Leicester
      2 tph – Corby
      2 tph – Derby and Sheffield
      2 tph – Nottingham

      Leicester which has four long platforms could have the following additional services.

      1 tph – Derby and Sheffield
      1 the- Sheffield via Erewash Valley
      1 tph- Nottingham
      1 the- Nottingham and Lincoln

      At Sheffield, two tph could be extended to Rotherham, Barnsley Dearne Valley and Leeds.

      1 tph

      Comment by AnonW | August 20, 2019 | Reply

  6. the 360s accelerate at 0.98 m/s^2
    the 222s accelerate at 0.72 m/s^2
    360s WILL knock you over if the driver rockets out of the station and they are fast. I don’t know why everyone is saying 360s are slow?
    222s are decently good, 379s are about the same as a 222

    The main difference is the interior 379 easily wins here
    But the 360 performance is unmatchable. Constantly gets gold/silver/bronze spanners. Can’t remember which one.
    40,000 MTIN.
    So if East Midlands Railway wants a smooth quite quick introduction 379
    If they want much better performance but a lacking interior (plans to refurbish here) they should go with 360.

    Comment by G.C | January 17, 2020 | Reply

    • I have a feeling that the 379s either have a problem or they have been earmarked for something different! I’ve travelled in 379s many times and there are no obvious problems with the trains. But I do wonder, if there could be a contractual problem using them , as they are not owned by one of the main leasing companies. Perhaps, they are waiting for a decision from the Government on developing a fleet of battery-powered trains, as we know they can be converted to that method of operation. They could even be dual-voltage and updated to 110 mph. Ideal for the Uckfield Branch and the Marshline Line.

      And what about Basingstoke to Exeter, with some clever fast charging?
      They’re certainly too good to scrap!

      Comment by AnonW | January 20, 2020 | Reply

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