Posted 14th February 2024 | 3 Comments

Wednesday briefing: Full Marston Vale service restored

Full Marston Vale service to return
London Northwestern Railway has announced deeply discounted fares on the Marston Vale line between Bedford and Bletchley, in a bid to attract passengers back when full services are resumed on the route on Monday. Marston Vale trains were withdrawn in December 2022 when rolling stock engineers Vivarail went into administration, making their Class 230 conversions based on Underground rolling stock difficult to maintain. Four trains a day returned in November last year. LNW has been working to secure enough Class 150 units to provide a full timetable, and three units have now been transferred from Northern. For three months from Monday, a single journey between any two stations on the Marston Vale Line will cost £1, which will be up to 90 per cent less than the usual fares.

West Coast Main Line reopens
Trains are now running in both directions on the West Coast Main Line between Coventry and Rugby again, after a landslip on Sunday closed the up line near Church Lawford. Although northbound trains could continue at first, engineers had to take a full possession to deal with the problem. Although trains have returned, they are still being delayed slightly by a temporary speed restriction. Network Rail said it is monitoring the situation and that further work to stabilise the embankment further will now be carried out during overnight closures. Meanwhile, Network Rail is dealing with a simillar problem at Baildon, on a single connecting line linking Shipley with the Ilkley route in West Yorkshire. Engineers have been at the scene since 5 February after cracks were reported in a cutting slope. Over the past week, the land has slipped and repairs are now set to start. Network Rail has warned that the line may not be open again before mid-March.

Merseyrail fares freeze
Merseyrail fares are to be frozen for six months. Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said proposed increases will be delayed until September at the earliest, using money ‘clawed back’ from Stadler after problems with the new Merseyrail fleet. A freeze on Transport for London fares has already been announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan, but regulated fares on National Rail in England will increase by 4.9 per cent on 3 March.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • david C smith, Bletchley

    For many years, the service has been an hourly dmu in each direction. Now there are likely to be other service demands to be catered to as well, enconpassing longer distances. How best to reorganise the future service patterns ? I'd be interested in peole's ideas.

  • david C smith, Bletchley

    At the present, this service looks a bit archaic ; hopefully once the ( imminent ?) line from Bletchley to Oxford reopens, and the Marston Vale line is traversed by additional trains to / from points West , the whole thing might make a lot more sense .

  • Christopher Jones-Bridger, Buckley Flintshire

    At long last customers on the Marston Vale route have their trains fully restored. Not however the modern railway's proudest moment that the route should have been deprived of trains for so long. I'm sure all the 'stakeholders' will hide behind the contracts as to why full restoration took so long. What I do recall from the 'inefficient, command & control' BR environment is that heads would have long rolled if this situation had been allowed to drag on for so long. At least BR era managers had the flexibility & incentive to ensure the timetabled service was provided as advestised.