Full train service restored to the Marston Vale Line

Bedford St Johns 150 137 heads for Bletchley. Image: Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership
Bedford St Johns 150 137 heads for Bletchley. Image: Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership

The much-anticipated return of a full train service on the Marston Vale Line has been celebrated today (19 February) with a discount ticket offer.

A special ‘90% off’ ticket has been launched and a single journey between any two Marston Vale Line stations will cost just £1 for adults and 50p for children. The offer is valid for three months.

Since 1 December 2022 there have been no London Northwestern Railways (LNR) train services running between Bedford and Bletchley, due to the maintenance contractor, Vivarail, going into administration. A rail replacement bus service had been running as a substitute.

Bedford and Kempston’s MP, Mohammad Yasin highlighted the issues his “long-suffering” constituents, particularly school children using the line to travel to Kimberley College in Stewartby, had.

The former MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries was accused of not doing enough to reinstate the line.

Read: MP accused of misleading residents on lack of progress on Bedford to Bletchley rail services

However, from today (19 February) the full service will resume an hourly service from Monday – Saturday and Bank Holidays. 17 trains will run daily in each direction on a largely clockface timetable.

A student hoping to attend Kimberley College next year said: “It is such a relief to have the train services restored as it makes travel much easier not just for me but for many other students hoping to commute to Stewartby and have ease of travel.’’

All of the three Class 150 units allocated to the Marston Vale Line have been refurbished with features including an accessible toilet & baby changing facility, visual & audio announcements, and CCTV and USB charging points throughout. Each train also has dedicated space for wheelchairs, pushchairs and bikes.

Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership Officer, said: “I am delighted a full train service is resuming on the Marston Vale Line, which is a lifeline for communities and means an enormous amount to local people who rely on it for education, work and shopping.

“The Line offers a wide range of opportunities for great days out too including Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre, the Forest Centre at the Millennium Country Park and Bletchley Park.

“It is also a key connecting route for those making longer journeys beyond Bedford and Bletchley.  

“The new ticket offer is fantastic news for passengers, particularly at the start of half term. We have a number of exciting plans to celebrate the relaunch of the Line, including a new promotional film to be released in time for Easter.”

Rail tickets can be purchased from the conductor on the train by cash or card. Tickets can also be purchased from any staffed rail station by cash or card or the Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) at each Marston Vale Line station (card only). Tickets purchased online can be collected at
staffed station or any TVM.

The timetable can be downloaded from marstonvalecommunityrail.org.uk or pick up a copy from Bedford Station or Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre.

Until further notice, some evening services will depart earlier than published. Please check nationalrail.co.uk before travel. 

Trains affected are 19:47 from Bedford, 20:45 (20:53 on Saturday) from Bletchley and 21:47 from Bedford.

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