- Chiltern Railways
Chiltern Railways Info Franchise(s): Chiltern
Main route(s): Chiltern Main Line Other route(s): London to Aylesbury Line
Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line
Leamington to Stratford Line
Oxford to Bicester Line
Fleet size: 5 Class 67 locomotives
16 Mark 3 coaches
39 Class 165 Turbo sets
19 Class 168 Clubman sets
4 Class 172 Turbostar sets
2 Class 121 "Bubble Car"
2 Class 01/5 shunters
Stations called at: 62 Stations operated: 27 Passenger km 2007/8: 897.1 million Route km operated: 336.4 National Rail abbreviation: CH Parent company: Arriva UK Trains
(Part of DB Regio)
Web site: www.chilternrailways.co.uk Route map Chiltern Railways Route MapLegend
Chiltern Railways is a British train operating company. It was set up at the privatisation of British Rail in 1996, and operates local passenger trains from Marylebone station in London to Aylesbury and main-line trains on the Chiltern Main Line to Birmingham Snow Hill with its associated branches. In 2002, the company began a new franchise of up to twenty years, promising significant investment in the route. The 20-year term is conditional on various investments and improvements over the life of the franchise.
The company began as a management buyout by former British Rail managers of the route, but was later absorbed into Laing Rail. In 2008, Laing Rail was taken over by Germany's Deutsche Bahn AG. Management of Chiltern, along with Deutsche Bahn's other UK rail interests, transferred to Arriva UK Trains in early 2011 following DB AG's purchase of Arriva.
Chiltern operate services on five routes.
- Chiltern Main Line
- London to Aylesbury Line
- Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line
- Leamington to Stratford Line
- Oxford to Bicester Line
Off-peak trains between London and Birmingham operate every half-hour. The fastest timetabled journey between London and Birmingham via this route is 1 hour 36 minutes (compared with a fastest time of 1 hour 22 minutes using Virgin Trains' three-times-an-hour services between London Euston and Birmingham New Street).
Since winning the franchise, Chiltern has introduced "Route: High Wycombe" tickets for the Chiltern route between Birmingham and London that are considerably cheaper than "Route: Any Permitted" tickets, valid on the faster Virgin service to London Euston as well a number of other operators and routes. Chiltern offers only Standard Class, not the Standard and First Class as on Virgin services.
The line to Aylesbury Vale Parkway via Amersham shares its line of route with London Underground's Metropolitan Line between Canfield Place (a point adjacent to Finchley Road) and Harrow-on-the-Hill with each operator running on separate tracks, then shares the tracks used by fast Metropolitan Line services to Watford South Junction (a point just after Moor Park, where Metropolitan line services to Watford diverge), with both operators sharing a single pair of tracks from there to Amersham.
On certain Bank Holiday Mondays, services are extended from Aylesbury to the Buckinghamshire Railway Heritage Centre facilities at Quainton Road, a short way south of Verney Junction. These services are often run by one of Chiltern's two Class 121 diesel multiple units, referred to as "bubble cars".
A shuttle service operates on the branch line between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough on the line to Birmingham via High Wycombe. Certain services from Marylebone via High Wycombe also provide a limited through service to Aylesbury.
Chiltern's sister company, Wrexham & Shropshire, operated services from North Wales along the Chiltern route to London. This service began on 28 April 2008. Because it gained insufficient passengers to be profitable, it ended on 28 January 2011.
Chiltern was also asked to bid for the Snow Hill Lines of the former Central Trains area of Birmingham as part of the new West Midlands franchise competition, but its bid was unsuccessful.
Chiltern is the first train operator in the UK to pilot - and subsequently implement - a full system for purchasing, retailing, fulfilling and validating train tickets electronically. As of April 2008, over 18,000 "E-Day" customers have registered to use the service and more than 40,000 electronic tickets have been sold, mainly as barcodes delivered as text messages to the mobile phones of their customers and also as 'Self-Print' tickets.
Initially, the line was franchised to a company formed by the British Rail managers of the route. In 2003 this became a wholly owned subsidiary of Laing Rail, who had held a much smaller shareholding in it at privatisation.
In July 2007, Henderson Fund Managers, the owner of John Laing, announced the sale of its Laing Rail subsidiary, as it wanted to focus on its public infrastructure portfolio. Arriva plc and Go-Ahead Group both expressed an interest in acquiring the company, but the final bidders were Deutsche Bahn of Germany and NedRail of the Netherlands. In January 2008 it was announced that Laing Rail had been sold to Deutsche Bahn. Following regulatory approval, Chiltern Railways therefore became part of DB Regio, but its management and brand remained unchanged.
Deutsche Bahn later bought out Arriva PLC and made DB Regio UK an autonomous division of Arriva UK Trains. Management of Chiltern, along with Deutsche Bahn's other UK rail interests in London Overground and the Tyne & Wear Metro, transferred to Arriva UK Trains in early 2011.
The "core" off-peak Chiltern Railways timetable is currently as follows:
- Half-hourly London Marylebone - Aylesbury via Amersham stopping service
- Hourly London Marylebone - High Wycombe stopping service
- Hourly London Marylebone - Princes Risborough stopping service
- Half-hourly London Marylebone - Birmingham Snow Hill via High Wycombe fast (Birmingham Moor Street) and semi-fast service
- Hourly London Marylebone - Bicester North via High Wycombe semi-fast service (extended to Stratford-upon-Avon in even hours)
- Selected times between Oxford and Bicester Town via Islip
In addition, Chiltern Railways runs one train a day from London Paddington to keep traincrew route knowledge up to date (as the route is regularly used for diversions during periods of engineering work), one train a day from Birmingham Snow Hill to Oxford, and a single train per week from Stratford to Oxford.
Chiltern is considered one of the best operators in Britain, with Public Performance Measure (PPM) regularly over 90% during the past 5 years. Chiltern is the only operating company to have achieved over 95% performance over 12 months. Chiltern's PPM is measured on stricter conditions than its long-distance rivals, such as Virgin Trains, as Chiltern has a 5-minute window for performance while others have a 10-minute window.
The latest performance figures, published by the ORR (Office of Rail Regulation), rate Chiltern Railways as one of the most punctual train operating companies in the UK at 93.0% (PPM) and 94.0% (MAA) as of the fourth quarter of financial year 2010-11. However, since the introduction of the new Mainline service in September 2011, the service has disintegrated dramatically, with a reduced timetable serving regular commuter routes, regular delays, cancellations and failures in rolling stock.
Evergreen is the name given by Chiltern to the major infrastructure works that the company has committed to over the 20-year duration of its franchise to improve routes and services. Up to 2009, this has been divided into three distinct phases.
The main focus of phase 1 was the redoubling of the Chiltern Main Line between Aynho Junction and Princes Risborough, together with the reconstruction of Haddenham and Thame Parkway from a single platform to two platforms, the installation of a new platform at Princes Risborough, and the raising of the line speed limit.
Phase 2 began after the award of Chiltern's new 20-year franchise. This entailed a realignment of the route through Beaconsfield to allow speeds to be increased to 75 mph, improved signalling between High Wycombe and Bicester and between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury, the construction of two new platforms at London Marylebone (located on the old carriage sidings), and the construction of a new maintenance depot near Wembley Stadium.
The Department of Transport, Chiltern Railways and Network Rail agreed on 15 January 2010 to a £250m upgrade of the Chiltern main line.
Phase 1 of the project, now complete, involved upgrading the Marylebone - Birmingham Chiltern Main Line to permit 100 mph running on 50 more miles of route. Junctions at Neasden, Northolt and Aynho were remodelled to permit higher speeds. The 'up' through track has been restored at Princes Risborough, the existing 'up' line becoming a platform loop, a new turnback siding has been provided at Gerrards Cross, and a new, straighter 'down' through track built from Northolt Junction (originally built to favour the now little-used Paddington route) to Ruislip Gardens. The existing 'down' track continues to serve South Ruislip station. The former speed restrictions through Bicester North have been removed to permit 100 mph running. Two additional terminating platforms at Birmingham Moor Street have been reopened. Accelerated services were initially planned to start in May 2011, but there were delays. The Chiltern Mainline service with accelerated timings from Birmingham to Marylebone finally began on 5 September 2011.
As a result of the speed increases, journey times have been reduced significantly. From Marylebone, the fastest peak-hour journey time to Birmingham Moor Street is now 90 minutes, instead of 117 minutes as previously. The table below outlines the peak timetable improvements.
Fastest Peak Time from London (mins) Previous Now Gerrards Cross 21 18 High Wycombe 34 25 Princes Risborough 41 32 Bicester 56 44 Banbury 63 50 Leamington Spa 85 67 Solihull 107 84 Birmingham (Moor Street) 117 92
Chiltern Railways chairman Adrian Shooter said, "This is the biggest passenger rail project for several generations not to call on the taxpayer for support. Working closely with Network Rail, we are going to create a new main-line railway for the people of Oxfordshire and the Midlands. This deal demonstrates that real improvements to rail services can be paid for without public subsidy by attracting people out of their cars and on to trains."
Under Phase 2 of the Evergreen 3 project, a quarter-of-a-mile double track will be constructed joining the Oxford to Bicester Line at Bicester Town to the Chiltern Main Line, allowing a new Oxford to London Marylebone service to operate. As part of this plan, the Oxford to Bicester Line transferred from First Great Western to Chiltern, and trains will call at Bicester Town and High Wycombe. Part of the line between Wolvercote Tunnel (on the outskirts of Oxford) and Bicester Town will be restored to double track, and a new station constructed at Water Eaton Park-and-Ride. The scheme will include additional platforms at Bicester Town, Islip and Oxford. This part of the Evergreen project is subject to Transport and Works Act approval by the Secretary of State, and is expected to be completed by 2013.
Network Rail said its investment will be reimbursed by a "facility charge" over the next 30 years—initially by Chiltern Railways, whose franchise expires in 2022, and then by the future franchisee. The infrastructure upgrade is being carried out by main contractor BAM Nuttall, in partnership with Jarvis and Atkins.
The £200m project, which is being promoted by Chiltern Railways, had originally proposed doubling the entire route from Oxford to Bicester; however, structural problems found in September 2009 may mean that the section between Bicester and Islip remains single-track. This would not affect the Evergreen plans but would limit intended services between Oxford and Milton Keynes as part of the proposed East West Rail Link. Oxfordshire County Council supports the scheme but remains to be convinced of the benefits to be gained from a new station at Water Eaton, which would be in the Green Belt.
Following September 4 2011, the new timetable combined with the significant disruption caused by the engineering work, has caused a negative reaction from the customers of the local line. A petition to have the service reviewed has begun and articles highlighting the plight of commuters have appeared in the press.
All signalling on the route (including the new platforms at Oxford) would be controlled by Marylebone Signalling Centre.
Chiltern Railways operates services using a fleet of Class 165 "Turbo", 168 "Clubman" and 172 "Turbostar" units. The "Turbo" units have undergone refurbishment at Bombardier's Ilford Works, and the Class 168s have recently been lengthened. Chiltern also operates a single Class 121 "Bubble Car" on its Aylesbury to Princes Risborough line. This heritage unit was extensively refurbished, and operates the majority of the services on that line.
When starting in 1996, Chiltern inherited 34 Class 165/0 (Networker) diesel multiple units fitted with Automatic Train Protection and a tripcock so they could be used on London Underground lines on the approach to London Marylebone. The trains were originally used for both suburban and commuter services, including to Birmingham. However, the Class 165 was designed for suburban travel and not intercity services, unlike its sister, the Class 166, and so, following healthy growth, Chiltern took delivery of Class 168 units, leaving the Class 165s to be concentrated on stopping services to Banbury and Aylesbury, although they are still sometimes seen on the runs to Birmingham. Chiltern now runs all 39 Class 165/0 in existence, following the transfer of five units from First Great Western. All units were refurbished in the late 2000's. Improvements included the installation of air conditioning and removal of the 'hopper' opening windows.
The first Class 168 ("Clubman") type to arrive was the 168/0, which externally resembles the Networker Turbo but is better suited to the long-distance service to Birmingham, and was later the basis for the Class 17x Turbostars. The Clubman trains were the first to be delivered after privatisation, and allowed Chiltern to intensify its commuter services, while also providing more comfort on the intercity runs. Later orders of the Class 168 produced the 168/1 and 168/2, which had the Turbostar wiring and external design, and so can be considered to be Turbostars. The Class 168 differs from the rest of the Turbostar family in that it is fitted with the tripcock and ATP, the same as the Class 165/0.
In 2008, Chiltern ordered four 2-car "Turbostar" units to increase capacity. These were delivered to Chiltern in May 2011, entering passenger service on 8 June 2011. After driver training and mileage accumulation they are working stopping services between London Marylebone and High Wycombe.
As of May 2011, Chiltern is operating a fleet of loco-hauled Mark 3 coaches on main-line services from London to Birmingham and Banbury, using the newly reopened platforms at Birmingham Moor Street. The motive power is provided by four Class 67 units from the unsuccessful Wrexham and Shropshire venture together with the addition of a fifth unit, 67018 'Keith Heller', painted in Chiltern's owner DB's livery.
As of July 2011 the coaching stock was all standard class. Additional unrefurbished 'slam door' coaches have been leased in from Porterbrook and units in the Virgin Trains red background livery are mixed in with 'Inter City' Blue/Silver stock. EX WSMR stock retains the now defunct livery with the decals removed. Rakes consisted of loco, five carriages and DVT
It is anticipated the carriages will be completely refurbished, and will have sliding doors (similar to those of the Mark 3s operated by Iarnród Éireann) and toilet retention tanks fitted. Deutsche Bahn owns 12 coaches and a number of DVTs already, with options on others from ROSCOs. Introducing these on the Birmingham express trains will then allow Chiltern to cascade the Class 168s currently used on to other services.
Chiltern has also obtained a second Class 121 unit, 121034, to supplement its existing one on the Aylesbury-Princes Risborough route. This has been been refurbished and repainted in the authentic 1960 British Railways green, complete with crest, and Yellow cab ends.
The rolling stock used on the Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone express services (ex WSMR) has been rebranded in "Chiltern Mainline Silver" livery.
Class Image Type Top speed Cars per set Unit Numbers Total Routes operated Built mph km/h Class 121
diesel multiple unit 70 112 1 121020, 121034 2 Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line 1959-60 Class 165/0
diesel multiple unit 75 120 2/3 165001-165039 39 Chiltern Main Line
London to Aylesbury Line
Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line
1990–1992 Class 168/0
diesel multiple unit 100 160 4 168001-168005 5 Chiltern Main Line
London to Aylesbury Line
1998 Class 168/1
diesel multiple unit 100 160 3/4 168106-168113 8 Chiltern Main Line
London to Aylesbury Line
2000 Class 168/2
diesel multiple unit 100 160 3/4 168214-168219 6 Chiltern Main Line
London to Aylesbury Line
2004 Class 172/1 Turbostar  Diesel Multiple Unit 100 160 2 172101-172104 4 Chiltern Main Line 2011 Class 67 Diesel Locomotive 125 200 Hired from DB Schenker Chiltern Main Line 1999–2000 Mark 3 Coach
Passenger Coach 125 200 N/A N/A 26 Chiltern Main Line 1975–1984 Driving Van Trailer 110 175 N/A 82301-82305 5 Chiltern Main Line 1988
Gerrards Cross incident
Tesco proposed building a supermarket over the railway line near Gerrards Cross railway station in 1996, which, following an initial objection by the local council was approved by the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in July 1998. Due to a lack of space in the area, Tesco had proposed building over the railway line, which would free up a large area of land suitable for the development.
During construction, the partially built tunnel collapsed on 30 June 2005. Nobody was injured but the line was closed for over six weeks, eventually reopening on 20 August 2005. Compensation by Tesco to Chiltern Railway and Network Rail was estimated to be between £5-20m and the retailer pledged to fund a media campaign to win back passengers lost by the closure of its route. Construction of the tunnel finally resumed in January 2009. The store opened in late November 2010.
Wrexham & Shropshire
It was announced that from 2010, the operating rights of Wrexham & Shropshire, in which Deutsche Bahn was also a shareholder, were planned to be combined with Chiltern Railways, but the separate Wrexham & Shropshire brand retained. However, this did not occur and the Wrexham and Shropshire service has subsequently closed.
In addition to the completed and ongoing Evergreen initiatives many other proposals for Chiltern's route have been discussed but not delivered to date. These include:
- In June 2008 it was revealed that Network Rail was examining the possibility of building high-speed lines shadowing five main-line routes, one of them being the Chiltern Main Line.
- Lengthening of platforms at South Ruislip, West Ruislip, Saunderton, Kings Sutton, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Sudbury and Harrow Road and Northolt Park to accommodate eight vehicles, thereby obviating the need for vehicles to be locked out of use on departure from London Marylebone.
- The restoration of the quadruple track between South Ruislip (Northolt Junction) and West Ruislip, allowing trains to call at both stations without blocking the line. Triple track currently exists at West Ruislip, with the up platform loop still in situ, and at South Ruislip, with the Down Main through line also in situ. This would involve the reconstruction of the new down platform at West Ruislip, and the reconstruction of the up platform at South Ruislip. This 'Chiltern Metro' service was not programmed in to the last round of franchising agreements.
- Restoration of fast through lines at Beaconsfield as part of a longer-term aspiration for a 90-minute journey time between London and Birmingham.
- Double-track the line from Princes Risborough to Aylesbury.
- Remodelling Banbury Station and tracks.
- Building of the West Hampstead interchange to allow easy interchange with the London Overground, Jubilee Line, Metropolitan Line and First Capital Connect services. This would also give Chiltern Railways an interchange with the future Orbirail line.
- New Chiltern Metro Service that would operate 4+tph for Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park, South Ruislip and West Ruislip. This would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip, passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and a passing loop at Wembley Stadium (part of the old down fast line is in use as a central reversing siding, for stock movements and additionally for 8-car football shuttles to convey passengers to the stadium for events).
- Re-opening the line between Oxford and Princes Risborough, which would provide an alternative to the Oxford-Paddington route. The Oxford to Banbury spur would then be handed over to the Chiltern Main Line to create a diversionary loop from Princes Risborough to Banbury via Oxford. This option would require an expensive crossing of the M40 motorway.
- Re-opening the passenger line between Aylesbury via Milton Keynes to Bedford and the line from Oxford to Bedford as part of the East West Rail Link. Two miles of the line north of Aylesbury re-opened on 14 December 2008 terminating at a new station, Aylesbury Vale Parkway.
- Opening a rail line from Aylesbury to a M6-M1 Parkway Station near Rugby. If this ever happened it would constitute a major re-opening of much of the Great Central Main Line, closed in the 1960s.
- Re-opening the former Great Western Railway branch line to Uxbridge High Street, continuing the route to Heathrow Airport. This would give Birmingham a direct rail link with Britain's largest airport.
- If the Croxley Rail Link gets the go-ahead from TfL and Hertfordshire County Council, direct services into Watford Junction from Aylesbury will be likely, as it will link the Chilterns to the important commercial centre at Watford and the important transport connections at the Junction.
As successful completion of Project Evergreen 3 would confirm Chiltern Railways' twenty-year franchise term, there is no clear road to completion for these projects.
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- ^ "National Rail Trends Chapter 2". Office for Rail Regulation. http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/nrt-yearbook-2010-11.pdf.
- ^ a b "Evergreen 3 progress". Modern Railways (London): p. 9. December 2010.
- ^ "Chiltern Railways plan to make Bicester well connected". Railnews (Stevenage). 29 August 2008. http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/business/2008/08/29-chiltern-railways-upgrade.html. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
- ^ "Project Evergreen 3". Chiltern Railways. 2009. http://www.chiltern-evergreen3.co.uk. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- ^ All figures are from Network Rail - "Network Rail document". http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/track%20access/1%20current%20consultations/2009.10.27%20chiltern%20railways%2073rd%20supplemental%20agreement%20-%20closing%20date%20for%20responses%2023%20november%202009/form%2022%2073rd%20for%20eg3.pdf. Retrieved 1 November 2009. [dead link]
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- ^ "Services at Aylesbury's new train station to begin on Sunday". The Bucks Herald (Aylesbury). 9 December 2008. http://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/Services-at-Aylesbury39s-new-train.4775111.jp.
- ^ Buggins, Arryn (11 August 2000). "The Next Train Calling At Rugby... Could Be Chiltern". CWN (Coventry). http://www.cwn.org.uk/business/a-z/c/chiltern-railways/2000/08/000811-chiltern-surprise.htm. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
- ^ "Exciting times ahead for passengers using Chiltern Railways!" (Press release). Chiltern Railways. 22 January 2007. http://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/news/news-archive/exciting-times-ahead-for-passengers/.
- ^ "Private Sector Specification and Delivery of Enhancement". International Council on Systems Engineering. 22 June 2010. http://www.incoseonline.org.uk/Documents/Events/22Jun10/22062010_Chiltern.pdf.
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Chiltern Railways — Firma Chiltern Railways Konzession und Dauer Chiltern 1996 – 2002 2002 – 2022 Hauptstrecke Chiltern Main Line … Deutsch Wikipedia
Chiltern Railways — Concession ferroviaire britannique Titulaire Chiltern Railways Groupe DB Regio Région principale Autres régions desservies … Wikipédia en Français
Chiltern Main Line — Chiltern Railways Clubman at West Ruislip Overview Type Commuter rail, Heavy rail S … Wikipedia
Chiltern (district) — Chiltern District Non metropolitan district Chiltern shown within Buckinghamshire Sovereig … Wikipedia
Chiltern — can refer to the following places: In England: Chiltern Hills, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, known locally as the Chilterns Chiltern (district), a local government district in Buckinghamshire named after the hills Chiltern Forest, a… … Wikipedia
Chiltern Main Line — London Marylebone–Birmingham Snow Hill Zug der Chiltern Railways bei West Ruislip … Deutsch Wikipedia
Chiltern — Der Name Chiltern bezeichnet: folgende geographische Orte: Chiltern (District), ein Verwaltungsbezirk in England Chiltern Forest, ein Waldgebiet nordwestlich von London Chiltern Hundreds, eine ehemalige Verwaltungseinheit der englischen… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Chiltern Green railway station — Chiltern Green A local goods train near Chiltern Green in 1950 Operations Pre grouping … Wikipedia
Chiltern Hills — near Nettlebed Country England Counties Bedfordshire … Wikipedia
Chiltern Hills — ➡ Chilterns * * * ▪ hills, England, United Kingdom range of chalk hills in England, extending some 70 mi (115 km) southwest to northeast through parts of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire, forming a well marked… … Universalium