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
• 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
* The pantograph is the roof-mounted apparatus that collects electricity from the overhead wires to power the train.
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 60 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manage 148 stations and operate
over 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia
is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, Southern (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, four Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work.
In 2013 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Silver Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2012.