Misery for rail passengers between Northampton and Milton Keynes for TEN DAYS in a row at start of September
Passengers face massive disruption travelling on trains to and from Northampton over ten consecutive days at the start of September.
Strike action by rail unions means no services will run on any route on Friday September 1 with a reduced timetable in operation the following day between 7am and 7pm only. And lines between Northampton and Milton Keynes will be closed from Saturday September 2 until Sunday September 10 for work to connect a new freight terminal on the edge of town to the rest of the rail network.
Replacement buses will be provided by operator London Northwestern Railway every 10 minutes to connect Northampton with MK during the planned nine-day hiatus but the usual 16-minute trip could take around 45 minutes, adding around half-an-hour or more to journeys to and from London. Customer experience director Jonny Wiseman said: “There will be significant changes to our timetable for a full week as a result of these important upgrades and I urge passengers to plan their journeys carefully in advance.
"Rail replacement buses will be running between Milton Keynes and Northampton so passengers travelling during this period should leave extra time.”
Engineers will be on site until Sunday, September 10, installing new track, points and signalling systems to allow freight trains to enter the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange at SEGRO Logistics Park next to junction 15 of the M1. When complete, the huge facility will have 5,000,000 square feet of warehouse space and employ up to 7,000 people.
Off-peak journey times to and from London will be up to one hour, 40 minutes instead of around 59 minutes normally.
James Dean, Network Rail's West Coast South route director, said: “Delivering this new Strategic Railfreight Interchange at Northampton will help deliver better, faster, stronger services to support Britain’s economy and the decarbonisation of transport."
Avanti West Coast is warning its trains between Rugby, Milton Keynes and London could be busier and advises passengers to reserve seats.
The West Coast Main Line is one of the busiest freight routes in Europe carrying 40 percent of all UK rail freight traffic. To begin with four freight trains will serve the new Northampton interchange each day — with the capacity for more in future. Each freight train takes up to 76 heavy good vehicles off the road, making it a much greener way to transport economically important goods around the country.
Kate Bedson, SEGRO senior director of national logistics, said: “The Strategic Rail Freight Interchange is a central part of the SEGRO Logistics Park Northampton development and we look forward to the connection to the rail network being completed so that the terminal can be operational ahead of the first customer occupying the first warehouse.
“We are confident that the short-term disruption while this vital work is undertaken will be far outweighed by the longer term benefits of the overall development and the rail freight capability at this location.”