Railway line connecting Bletchley and Bedford celebrates 175th anniversary

A year of celebrations start this weekend

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 5:14 pm

Times were very different in 1846; Queen Victoria was on the throne, electricity was yet to be discovered, trains were still steam powered, and the Marston Vale Line was the latest to open in the area.

And to mark the 175 years since the Marston Vale’s maiden voyage, there's going to be a whole host of events planned - starting this weekend.

On Saturday (November 20), there'll be an exhibition and activity day at Bletchley Masonic Centre - just a short walk from Fenny Stratford station.

The Marston Vale line 150th anniversary celebration train in 1996

Visitors can explore the model railway and history displays, as well as take part in face painting.

A commemorative plaque was unveiled today (Wednesday) and guests got the chance to hop on the train to Bedford, before heading back to Ridgmont station for a further plaque unveiling.

Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale CRP officer, said: “I am delighted the Marston Vale Line has reached its 175th anniversary. My thanks to the team of over 75 Station Friends & CRP volunteers for their continued hard work and commitment in brightening up our stations, overseeing the day to day running of Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre and helping with events.

"Thanks also to the Bletchley Masonic Centre for sponsoring our 175th Anniversary Exhibition & Fun Day. I look forward to an exciting year ahead.”

Truly historic, the Marston Vale Line was the first ever railway line into Bedford. And as such, a number of the stations on the line were designed by the Duke of Bedford - with many of them fulfilling his vision of looking like private houses, rather than traditional railway stations.

The line is still busy today - nowadays, many use the line to get to Kimberley Sixth Form College in Stewartby.