If you fancy a trip on what is likely the UK’s cheapest railway journey, you can ride the Marston Vale railway link between Bedford and Bletchley for just £1 per trip.

Marston Vale line overlay on Open Street Map

The special price is a three-month special offer to mark the resumption of a fully timetabled service after a long period of disruption on the line.

The line had switched to Vivarail Class 230 trains in 2019, but when Vivarail closed down in December 2022, the railway had to switch to a replacement bus service while it looked for replacement trains. Due to the very short platforms on the Marston Vale Line, only certain types of train can be used on the route. London Northwestern Railway (LNR) had to arrange the transfer of three Class 150 trains from elsewhere in the country to restore the service.

The Class 150 trains being used on the route were most recently in service with Northern. Each train is wheelchair accessible and has capacity for 173 passengers. The trains have been recently refurbished with features including a universally accessible toilet, an upgraded passenger information system and USB charging points throughout the carriages.

Refurbished Class 150 train (c) NWR

A partial timetable was introduced in November 2023, with four services per day in each direction during weekday morning and afternoon peaks, but from next week, the full service will resume at long last.

As part of the reopening, for the next three months, a single journey between any two stations on the Marston Vale Line will cost just £1 (50p for children).

Yes, that means you can travel the entire line from Bedford and Bletchley for just £1 — or just 65p if you have a Railcard.

You can also break your journey along the route – so a chance for a very cheap day out visiting all the stations along the line.

Although the service is hourly in each direction, if you’re clever about it and really want to complete all the stations, you could go forward two stations, wait 20(ish) minutes and go back one station, wait 20(ish) mins and go forward two stations and repeat all the way along the line.

For example…

  • Bedford: 9:47am
  • Bedford St Johns – skip
  • Kempson Hardwick: arrive at 9:57am and leave at 10:16am back to Bedford St Johns
  • Bedford St Johns: arrive 10:22am and leave at 10:50am
  • Kempson Hardwick – skip
  • Stewartby: 11am

…and so on until you reach Bletchley.

Admittedly, it’ll take a whole day to do that! And bring a book, as there’s not a lot at each station to see.

But it’s different — and at the moment, you can do the whole thing for a quid.

Most of the stations are just an empty platform, but there’s a tea room and heritage centre in the old station office at Ridemont station, so ideal for lunch.

A full list of local attractions is here.

You will need to get to either Bletchley or Bedford — and a quick check online suggests that St Pancras International to Bedford on a Saturday is available for about £15 versus Euston to Bletchley for £22.

The full Marston Vale Line service will resume on Monday 19th February 2024 and trains run Mon-Sat. Note that there is no Sunday service.


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  1. Keith says:

    Nice to see that they’ve remembered to include an accessible toilet, unlike the Moorgate and Elizabeth line trains. Worth noting that sometime in the next decade (hopefully) this line is set to get a major upgrade, due to East-West rail utilising it.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Typo–Ridgmont not Ridemount ?

  3. Kevin says:

    The place to go for is Ridgmont, where the station is a posh tea-rooms. It’s very odd, because it’s right in the middle of a massive complex of distribution warehouses and motorway junctions, a strange oasis. This is my local branch line, and the return of full service is hugely welcome!

  4. Mike B. says:

    The tea room and heritage centre opening times are limited. More info https://ridgmontheritage.org.uk/

  5. Jo Parker says:

    The tea room and heritage centre at Ridgmont really is worth a visit. There’s the old ticket office with all the original fixtures and fittings. The tea room does great food, especially the cakes!

  6. Rodney Marshall says:

    Can the £1 ticket be purchased at any station or only Bedford and Bletchley please?

  7. Geoff Kerr says:

    Take your bucket and spade if you’re getting off at Woburn Sands.

  8. Mike Ricketts says:

    The Rail Replacement coach used to stop at Ridgmont Station, even though it was closed.
    As I was the only passenger on the bus, I persuaded the driver to wait while I did a lightning tour of the “museum”!
    All the volunteers were very friendly and welcoming, and I will return (by train) for a longer stay, and, of course, a cup of tea!
    The whole thing had a feel of Branch Line Britain of yesteryear…

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