Trains to finally run again on the troubled Bletchley to Bedford Marston Vale line in Milton Keynes

There will be four return journeys a day initially, but only on weekdays
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Train services on the Marston Vale line between Bedford and Bletchley are finally to resume next month.

The services have been suspended, with buses running in place of trains, since December last year when maintenance provider Vivarail entered into administration.

Now, following extensive efforts to find and prepare suitable trains for the route, London Northwestern Railway (LNWR) is making final preparations to restart train services on the line in November.

Trains are soon to run again on the Bletchley to Bedford Marston Vale lineTrains are soon to run again on the Bletchley to Bedford Marston Vale line
Trains are soon to run again on the Bletchley to Bedford Marston Vale line

The exact date is still to be confirmed but meanwhile LNWR has published a timetable. It shows there will be four return journeys a day initially and these will only run on weekdays.

The trains will leave Bletchley station at 07:18, 08:00, 15:45 and 17:45 from Monday to Friday, calling at Bow Brickhill, Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, Ridgmont, Lidlington, Millbrook, Stewartby, Kempston Hardwick, Bedford St Johns and Bedford.

The return trains will leave Bedford at 08:08, 09:17, 16:47 and 18:47.

London North-Western Railway announced the suspension of Marston Vale train service between Bedford and Bletchley suddenly on Thursday December 1 2022, immediately after confirmation that Vivarail, the company that maintained the line’s Class 230 trains, had gone into administration.

Last month LNWR announced a major milestone in the project to reintroduce passenger services to the Marston Vale Line had been achieved, with a Class 150 completing a test run along the length of the route for the first time since the company took delivery of the fleet.

An LNWR spokesperson said at the time: “Under the control of an instructor driver, unit number 150137 successfully completed the return trip from Bletchley to Bedford. This test run was carried out in partnership with Network Rail, which will ensure the tracks and signals along the line are ready for the fleet to use.

“As part of this work, Network Rail has begun running Rail Head Treatment trains along the route on a daily basis to reduce the likelihood of trains sliding on tracks which have been used much less frequently than usual since December.”

In the future, however, the Marston Vale line will be vastly improved and have trains running every 20 minutes. For it will eventually become part of the East West Rail line that will link Cambridge and Oxford together.

The project aims to transform connectivity and journey times across the heart of the country, boost economic growth and create opportunities for new housing and jobs. It involves refurbishing existing lines from Bletchley to Bedford along with major upgrades to Bedford’s railway stations and a revamp at Bletchley station.

A new replacement flyover has already been built at Bletchley. Instead of replacing the old 1960s, build reinforced concrete flyover like-for-like - which would involve closing the West Coast main line below to build five supporting columns in between the tracks - East West Rail project engineers used modern methods of construction to build a massive box structure.

The new flyover should last for 120 years with minimal future maintenance required, say the East West Rail project experts.