Chiltern Railways have outlined the engineering work taking place between now and September to enable the creation of the Chiltern Mainline which will ‘reduce journey times’.
The 90 minute Chiltern Mainline service to London, was originally meant to be in service by May, but has been postponed to ‘late summer.’
From Monday 6 June until Thursday 18 August the company will be running an amended timetable on Monday to Thursday evenings affecting late night trains to and from London.
Five services from London Marylebone will be affected after 22.20 and will be served by buses and three services from Birmingham and Banbury will be affected from 21.30 and will also be served by buses.
Two very early morning trains will also be affected on Tuesday to Friday mornings for those travelling before 05.40 between Aylesbury and London Marylebone via High Wycombe. Trains will start at High Wycombe and there will be a bus replacement service to transfer passengers to High Wycombe.
Engineering teams already work on the line through the night, every night in order to make the Chiltern Mainline a reality. Following the last train there are around four hours of clear time to prepare works, deliver materials and move equipment.
Other work conducted overnight includes additional testing of signals, tamping, platform realigning, vegetation clearance, the installation of points on new sections of track to be connected at a later stage and other major preparation work for the signalling commission in August.
This amendment to late night services from June will give engineering teams two additional hours every night working on the line which adds up to the equivalent of an extra working day each week. This allows the company to keep the line open for more weekends over the summer months whilst keeping Friday night late night trains running as normal.
Other engineering work currently planned for the summer will see amended timetables during some weekends and there will be significant disruption for 15 days from Saturday 13 August until Saturday 27 August. More information on this can be found on the website.
The Chiltern Mainline project is a huge £250 million pound investment and one of the largest privately-led investments in railway infrastructure for many years. The project has already successfully achieved a number of significant milestones including the installation of points at several locations to enable the line speed to be increased and the realignment and improvement of track layout along the route.
Other major milestones achieved include the opening of two new platforms at Birmingham Moor Street, a new platform at Bicester North, the replacement of two bridges, the installation of a footbridge and the replacement of platform 1 at High Wycombe.
Adrian Shooter, Chairman of Chiltern Railways said:
“We have done all we can to minimise weekday closures, but have not been able to avoid them completely. We are always very sorry to do anything that will disappoint our passengers, especially as we move into the summer months, however, we want our passengers to experience the benefits of faster journey times as soon as possible – and this is the lowest risk route to achieve that.”