Trains between Milton Keynes and Bedford stopped by POLLEN overheating the engines, now councillors want action

A Marston Vale Line train
A Marston Vale Line train

Trains running along the branch line between Bletchley and Bedford have suffered a string of problems recently – including engines that have been overheating due to POLLEN.

It seems the trains, which pull reconditioned Central Line London underground carriages across the county border on the Marston Vale Line, have been suffering a dose of hayfever and now councillors in Milton Keynes want the railway company to take action.

Cllr Vanessa McPake (Lib Dem, Monkston) urged action from the council’s ruling Cabinet when she spoke at the full Milton Keynes Council on Wednesday.

She said there had been problems including trains being frequently cancelled because engines had been overheating due to pollen.

“We’ve got to lean on London and North West Railway (LNWR) to solve this problem,” she said.

Cllr McPake added that a special train, carrying several LNWR people as they sought to reassure the public during a recent event, broke down in Bedford and was cancelled.

“They were handing out leaflets saying how they were getting the railway back on track. The irony was that the train was leaving Bedford and it broke down with several senior people on it.

“They should reinstate the old trains while they get this problem sorted,” she added.

Cllr Martin Gowans (Lab, Bletchley East), the Cabinet member for transport and planning said: “This is a vital link. I can assure you that we will lean on LNWR to bring the service up to standards.”

A spokesperson for LNWR confirmed there are problems with power generators and door locking systems.

And a spokesperson for Vivarail, which has reconditioned the trains for use on the line confirmed that “we did have an issue with pollen in the filters for a period in the summer, which was unexpected. It obviously then became part of our daily routine maintenance to check and clean them.

She added: “There have been other issues with our gensets which has affected reliability of the trains, however again we are getting close to a) fully able to react to any problems and b) with a stock of spare gensets to allow us to swiftly replace if necessary.”