Engineering Support for East Midlands Railway

Train Operating Company – East Midlands Railway – are undertaking a programme of works to upgrade its ageing intercity fleet and improve its environmental performance and timetable for its passengers.

However, with design approvals presenting a greater challenge than expected, the Joint Project Manager required additional support to manage the technical activities to ensure compliance with specified requirements.


East Midlands Railway (EMR) is a British train operating company under the ownership of the Transport UK Group. Having taken control of the East Midlands franchise in 2019, EMR operates train services in the East Midlands region, connecting various destinations from Norwich, Liverpool, Crewe, London, Bedfordshire and Lincolnshire to the East Midlands region, and running intercity trains from London to Sheffield, via Derby and Nottingham.

EMR is in the process of acquiring a new fleet of bi-mode multiple units for its intercity service. The aim is to replace the existing ageing fleet and enhance its environmental performance by using overhead lines wherever possible.

The Aurora fleet, consisting of 33 five-car units, is being manufactured by Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe, with the initial units having entered the testing phase in late 2023 and with passenger service operation due in 2024.

The brief

The design approvals for the Class 810 fleet proved a more significant challenge than initially expected because there were more deviations from the typical AT300-type units than anticipated. To successfully complete the project, the Joint Project Manager required additional engineering support to manage the increased workload and ensure that the train design was both suitable for its intended purpose and compliant with all specified requirements.

EMR needed support with design approvals, ensuring compliance with industry standards, and reviewing maintenance documentation, so they engaged Encompass Engineering. Having already successfully completed these phases of similar projects for sister train operating companies – Greater Anglia and West Midlands Trains – EMR knew Encompass had the knowledge and experience required for this project.

The solution

Encompass Engineering provided an experienced, chartered Project Engineer to work as an extension of the new trains project team right alongside EMR’s own project engineers. This additional support is helping EMR manage the workload and their engagement with the rolling stock manufacturer but, more significantly, the Encompass team brings the additional benefit of valuable insights and lessons learned from their experience of working on similar projects and encountering similar challenges with other fleets.

The Encompass engineer also benefits from the support of the rest of the Encompass team of specialists, who share real-time knowledge and best practices regarding current issues from other new build projects in which they are actively involved.

The result

The experienced project engineer from Encompass works as an extension to the New Trains Team. This additional support means EMR are able to manage the increase in workload, but they also benefit from the knowledge the engineer, supported by the Encompass team, brings from working on similar projects, which has allowed EMR to identify risks and point towards solutions when issues arise during the project.


“Encompass contributed towards the speedy review and feedback of design and maintenance information that has helped move the project forward.”

— Rachel Turner, Head of New Trains, Joint Project Manager EMR-BMU

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East Midlands Railway are upgrading its ageing intercity fleet.

However, with design approvals presenting a greater challenge than expected, the Joint Project Manager required additional support to manage the technical activities to ensure compliance with specified requirements.

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They wanted a fresh perspective and expert support, so they engaged Encompass Engineering to perform a comprehensive GEMBA walk to identify potential challenges and opportunities.

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