Midland rail travellers will have a new alternative fast route to London from next May following a multi-million investment on the Chiltern Line.
The new Chiltern Railways service from Birmingham Moor Street to Marylebone in central London will see journeys be reduced from almost two hours to 100 minutes, and times could eventually be cut even further.
The new fast service will result from the completion of a £250 million investment in upgrading the line and is claimed to offer a viable alternative to Virgin’s fast trains from Birmingham New Street to Euston.
Thomas Ableman, Chiltern’s marketing director, said the new fast service would be available all day every day, with trains travelling at 100 miles per hour after leaving Leamington Spa.
And he pledged: “We are cheaper than Virgin now and we intend to stay that way. If you board a train in Birmingham at 8am a walk up ticket to London with us will be £100 cheaper than with Virgin, and our cheapest tickets – booked in advance – are from £5 one-way.”
Chiltern has just finished the £25 million renovation of Moor Street with the completion of the last two platforms so all four will be ready for passengers using the fast new service in 2011.
About £14 million has been spent on the platform project alone and all four were due to be used for the first time today (Friday) when dignitaries and VIPs were taken on a special celebratory trip to mark the station’s completion.
When Chiltern took over the station in 2003 it was completely derelict. Now it has been restored to its Edwardian glory to provide an elegant arrival/departure point for rail travellers.