West Midlands Trains says it is aiming to reintroduce passenger services on the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford in November.
Services were withdrawn last December after Vivarail, the maintainer of the three Class 230 DEMUs then used on the line, went into administration, meaning it was not possible to keep the fleet in service. WMT has since taken delivery of three Class 150 DMUs cascaded from Northern, which will be used to reinstate the line’s service.
The first test run with a ‘150’ using No 150137 took place on 22 September, under the control of an instructor driver. WMT says the first cohort of drivers to be trained have previously driven ‘150s’, which were used on the line prior to the introduction of the ‘230s’, meaning training will be quicker. It said in an update in late September that as long as there were no further unexpected delays it should have sufficient drivers trained to reintroduce services in November. Initially a reduced service is expected concentrating on the busiest services, ahead of the reinstatement of a full hourly timetable.
The three ‘150s’ are based at Bletchley depot and have received WMT’s London Northwestern Railway livery. The operator has also been training its engineering team to maintain the DMUs.