Dutch-owned firm Abellio has taken over the East Midlands rail franchise, promising £600m of investment.
It won the eight-year contract after Stagecoach was disqualified from bidding as it refused to take on pension liabilities.
Abellio, owned by the Dutch government-owned rail firm, has promised new trains, 165 new carriages, and improved infrastructure.
East Midlands Trains will now be called East Midlands Railway (EMR).
The rail franchise had been operated by Stagecoach since 2007.
The company – owned by the state-owned operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen – already operates five other rail franchises, including Scotrail and Greater Anglia services between Norwich and London.
Part of Abellio’s investment will include a complete overhaul of the rail stock, with new high-speed Hitachi intercity rail trains.
It said £400m would be spent on 33 five-carriage trains, which will include air conditioning, wi-fi and plug sockets for passengers.
The new intercity trains will begin serving cities and towns like Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Leicester, London, and Lincoln by 2022.
Abellio managing director Dominic Booth said: “[The new trains] will respond to what our passengers have told us they want with more frequent services, faster journeys between the East Midlands and London, and provide more capacity.”
‘Believe it when I see it’
Vicky Henry travels from Nottingham to London about eight times a year.
She said: “I’ll believe [the investment] it when I see it. They always talk about investing money but the whole set-up of the network means any improvements come from the state, not the individual train operators.”
One daily commuter from Burton-upon-Trent to Nottingham said: “Recently there have been a lot of delays and cancellations so I’m not particularly happy with the service.
“The investment is certainly welcome, and hopefully the delays can be either stopped or reduced so the trains can run a bit better.”
Sophie Harrison frequently travels between Nottingham and Leicestershire.
The Nottingham Trent University student said: “New trains will make the railways more user-friendly, especially if there are more services.”
The opening show at a new London theatre, The Troubadour in White City, is to close two months early due to poor ticket sales.
Sally Cookson’s Peter Pan made its debut at the venue a month ago and had been due to run until 27 October.
However, the producers have announced their decision to “reluctantly” close the show on 1 September.
The play, co-produced by the National Theatre, will have completed six weeks of its scheduled 14-week run.
A statement said: “The production received acclaim from critics and a hugely positive reaction from audiences, however due to ticket sales we have reluctantly taken the decision to close in September.
“We’d like to thank our wonderfully talented cast and creative team for all of their hard work, as well as the audiences who have enjoyed the production.”
It added that any customers holding tickets for scheduled performances after the close date should contact their ticket provider for a refund.
The Troubadour opened in White City on 22 July with the latest adaptation of JM Barrie’s novel. The venue has two auditoria – one with 1,200 seats, where Peter Pan is playing, and another with a capacity of 800.
It is one of two new venues built by the team behind the King’s Cross Theatre. The other, in Wembley Park, also opened in July, with Dinosaur World Live.
A woman has been taken to hospital after being hit by a marked police car.
The Met Police vehicle struck the pedestrian, in her 20s, on Warwick Road, near the junction with Kensington High Street in west London, at about 21:55 BST on Tuesday.
She was treated at the scene before being taken to a central London hospital where she remains in a critical condition.
It is not known whether the police car was responding to an emergency call.
Road closures have been put in place in the area and an investigation is under way.
Scotland Yard said the Directorate of Professionals Standards had been informed and the Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched an investigation.
The Crown Prosecution Service will receive an extra £85m over the next two years, to help deal with a rise in violent crime in England and Wales.
It comes as Boris Johnson launches a review of sentencing of some dangerous and prolific offenders.
He said dangerous criminals must be taken off the streets and punishments “fit the crime” if the public was to have confidence in the justice system.
Lawyers said the new money did not make up for 10 years of “relentless cuts”.
The news fuels speculation ministers are preparing for an early election.
On Sunday the prime minister promised to create an extra 10,000 new prison places and expand stop-and-search powers.
And on Monday Mr Johnson will host a round-table meeting in Downing Street with leaders from the police, probation and prison sectors.
Ahead of the meeting Mr Johnson said: “We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending again as soon as they’re released.
“This ends now. We want them caught, locked up, punished and properly rehabilitated.”
The review, which will begin immediately, will look at whether violent and sexual offenders are serving sentences that reflect the severity of their crimes.
It will report back in the autumn.
‘Protect the public’
Under the current system, criminals sentenced to 12 months or more generally serve the first half of their time in prison and the second half “on licence” in the community, where they may be subject to recall.
Dangerous offenders can be given extended sentences, which mean they must serve two-thirds before being eligible for parole.
Justice secretary Robert Buckland said the review will focus on those violent, sexual and prolific offenders who are not currently given these extended sentences.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Mr Johnson “wants to see prison being used appropriately to protect the public”.
But sentencing decisions should still be based on individual circumstances not “targets or numbers”, Mr Buckland said.
Opposition parties warned there was no easy fix for the current rise in violent crime.
Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse said increasing prison sentences would merely “overcrowd prisons and waste millions of pounds”.
She said: “For years, Labour and Tory ministers have made sentences longer and longer, without any evidence that they prevent crime.
“It may sound tough, but it hasn’t made our communities any safer.”
The incentive of early release is seen by many as critical for keeping order in prisons.
Sir David Latham, a former judge and chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Prisons are significantly overcrowded and the risks of violence in prisons have increased very substantially over the last few years.”
Last year saw record levels of assaults on prison staff as well as a rise in self-harm by inmates.
Sir David said the way to ensure the safety of the public was by monitoring offenders after release with effective probation services. “The essence of early release is that there should be proper control over that prisoner,” he said.
But he denied that sentencing needed to be tougher. “Sentencing has in fact increased over the last 20 to 30 years quite substantially,” Sir David said.
Downing Street said the extra £85m for the CPS – which prosecutes criminal cases in England and Wales – will help staff respond to the rise in violent crime and an “explosion of digital evidence”.
Director of public prosecutions Max Hill QC said the money came at a “crucial time” for criminal justice.
Mr Hill said: “Our work is changing, and this new funding will provide the increased capacity to enable us to respond effectively to challenging trends we currently face.”
A spokesman from the CPS said the money would also help deal with the higher caseload they were anticipating as a result of Mr Johnson’s plan to recruit 20,000 more police officers.
In 2018-19 the CPS received £528m in government funding, but lawyers said the additional funding over two years was only a “modest first step”.
Chris Henley, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, said: “The criminal justice system is severely underfunded, as a result of relentless cuts over the last 10 years.”
He said more money was needed for the prosecution system and the courts to “restore public faith”, as increasingly “those who commit crime walk free and the innocent risk being convicted”.
Labour’s shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, accused the prime minister of “clearing the ground” for a general election rather than creating real solutions for the criminal justice system.
She said: “Anyone can promise tens of thousands of police officers, if you’re not saying exactly how you’re going to fund it. There’s been a whole series of these promises and Boris doesn’t explain how he will pay for it.”
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