Faster, more frequent trains between Northampton, Milton Keynes and London are a step closer following a series of tests by London Midland to assess the impact of running 12 carriage trains at 110mph.
Although our 30-strong fleet of class 350/1 Desiro trains has already been re-engineered to run at 110mph (by rebuilding the motors and modifying the suspension), trains longer than 4 carriages are still restricted to 100mph. This has led to crowding on a number of our Birmingham/Crewe to London services which can only have 4 carriages when using the 'fast' lines between Rugby/Milton Keynes and London.
New equipment testing
To enable 8 and 12 carriage trains to operate at 110mph, a new 'high speed' pantograph* is required, and a week-long programme of tests - which has included the installation of hi-tech monitoring equipment and roof-mounted cameras on three trains - is taking place over the 18-22 February half term period when commuter numbers are slightly lower.
Shorter commuter trains during testing
Unfortunately, whilst the testing is taking place, the following commuter trains will be 4 carriages shorter than usual:
0759 Milton Keynes-Euston
0634 Euston-Milton Keynes
1734 Euston-Watford Junction
An altogether better experience from 2014
The higher speed running will free-up capacity on the congested Euston line to allow faster and more frequent commuter trains to run between Northampton/Milton Keynes and London, following the delivery of 10 new Desiro trains in summer 2014.
Highlights from December 2014
• 4,200 extra seats at peak times, Monday to Friday
• 2 new non-stop commuter trains from Northampton to London on weekday mornings
• 5 new, fast commuter trains from London to Northampton/Rugby on weekday evenings
• Northampton to London in as little as 46 minutes
• 10 new class 350/3 4-carriage Desiro trains
We hope the long term improvements planned for the Euston line outweigh any short term inconvenience caused by the shorter trains, and thank you for your patience.
* The pantograph is the roof-mounted apparatus that collects electricity from the overhead wires to power the train.