Following its announcement ten days ago, London Northwestern Railway (LNWR) has this morning (Monday 20 November) resumed running a limited train service on the Marston Vale Line between Bedford and Bletchley.
The first service on the line since December 2022 departed from Bletchley at 7.18am.
Buses have run in place of trains along the line for the last eleven months after the collapse of VivaRail, the company which maintained the Class 230 trains which previously ran on the route.
Only certain types of train can run on the Marston Vale Line due to the very short platforms on its stations. LNWR has arranged the transfer of three Class 150 trains from elsewhere in the country so it can restore the service.
The Class 150 trains now running on the route were previously in service with Northern. The trains are wheelchair accessible and can each carry 173 passengers.
Recent refurbishment of the trains added features including a universally accessible toilet, an upgraded passenger information system and USB charging points in the carriages.
More information on the project to restore services to the Marston Vale Line, including details of the partial timetable, is available on the LNWR website.
The limited services will see just four trains run in each direction on weekdays only, during the morning and evening peak periods. The rail replacement buses will continue to run at other times. LNWR expects to restore the full timetable, including the return of a Saturday service, in early 2024, once it has trained enough train crew to operate the Class 150 fleet.
Jonny Wiseman, LNWR customer experience director, said: “We are delighted that passenger trains are once again running on the Marston Vale Line.
“We recognise that due to logistical constraints it has taken longer than we had hoped to bring back the train service and we thank our customers for their patience.
“While we will initially be running a partial timetable, we are working hard to train our drivers and senior conductors as quickly as possible with a view to resuming the full service in the new year.”
Stephen Sleight, from the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership, said: “I am really pleased that train services have resumed on the Marston Vale Line. The line is a lifeline for the communities along it and means an enormous amount to local people who rely on it for access to education, work, and leisure.
“I am sure passengers will be impressed by the refurbishment of the Class 150s and I look forward to the resumption of the full service in the New Year.”