2030 Vision

Chiltern Railways unveil ambitious ‘Right Route’ 2030 vision to renew fleet

Train operator Chiltern Railways has unveiled its ‘Right Route’ to 2030 vision with stakeholders and parliamentarians in Westminster. This ambitious proposal sets out how Chiltern intends to deliver easier, greener, and better rail services through investment in new trains over the next decade. 

The vision was developed following research that Chiltern commissioned to ask customers, stakeholders and colleagues what they wanted Chiltern to look like from their perspective by 2030. 

The feedback was unanimous in its desire to modernise the network with a new fleet of trains. The Office of Rail and Road’s latest statistics show that Chiltern has the third oldest trains by operator, with an average age of 28.9 years. While the operator’s fleet ages, the communities it serves continue to grow, highlighting the need for a strategic plan to deliver a modern, greener railway  

Richard Allan, Managing Director at Chiltern Railways, said: 

“We are determined to provide an easier, greener and better experience for our customers by 2030.  

“Replacing our ageing diesel fleet with new, environmentally-friendly trains is at the heart of our Right Route vision. This is needed to unlock essential benefits including more capacity and better quality for customers, improved air quality for all, and to support economic growth. 

“We are looking forward to working with partners to make a strong economic case for the necessary investment to make our 2030 vision possible.” 

The Right Route 2030 report also contains supporting testimony from stakeholders across the route, including VisitBritain, the West Midlands Rail Executive, Experience Oxfordshire, Baker Street Quarter Partnership and Shakespeare’s England. This illustrates the wide support for Chiltern’s 2030 vision across a diverse range of sectors – from tourism to business groups – across all of the regions Chiltern serves. 

Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South and Chair of the Transport Select Committee, said: 

“I welcome the ambition Chiltern Railways has set for the future and I look forward to working with them to help realise them. Chiltern has a strong track record in investing in the future, from the Total Route Modernisation back in the 1990s to the more recent Evergreen project to expand the network. 

"I particularly welcome the planned investment in new and greener rolling stock. The views of current and future passengers should shape their design. Too often new trains are introduced which, while giving an improvement in performance, do not result in an upgrade to passenger comfort. This is a great opportunity for Chiltern to design a best in class new train interior.” 

Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham and member of the Transport Select Committee, said:  

“It was a pleasure to host Chiltern Railways in Parliament to continue the discussion of how they modernise their fleet. There is no doubt that ageing trains are leading to some of the crowding issues my constituents are enduring and this clear plan to fleet renewal is very welcome." 

Chiltern, owned by Arriva, is about to invite proposals from manufacturers for new trains to replace its 33-year old diesels that operate primarily on the operator’s commuter route between Aylesbury and London. Those proposals may include the use of battery or battery-electric hybrid trains.  

Denise Wetton, Network Rail’s Central route director, said:   

“Network Rail Central Route fully support the Chiltern Railways’ Right Route 2030 and I really enjoyed attending the launch event with a number of my industry colleagues and stakeholders. We will continue to work in partnership with Chiltern to make sure as an industry we jointly deliverthe strategy, ensuring theinfrastructurealigns and is fit for the future through our modernisation programme.”  

The five core principles underpinning Chiltern’s 2030 vision are: 

  • The right route for people: Chiltern’s vision for a new fleet of trains will drive forward improvements in punctuality, on board experience, levels of crowding, and seating capacity. 

  • The right route for connections: a modern, greener fleet will embrace the diverse markets Chiltern serves, whether that be taking customers from work to home, or connecting them to the tourism and leisure hubs they love.  

  • The right route for innovation: continued innovation in modernising and decarbonising Chiltern’s fleet will power local economies through the creation of new jobs, increased spending and greater economy activity across its route.  

  • The right route for our environment: Chiltern treasures its communities and is aware that old diesel trains have an impact on the local environment. The operator wants to act now to reduce carbon emissions from services, encouraging a modal shift away from cars to the Chiltern network. 

  • The right route for the future of our communities: the communities that Chiltern serves have changed since its inception in 1996, and Chiltern must change with it. New businesses, leisure activities and homes need a network that helps people travel with ease and comfort and enhances social mobility, allowing the communities to reach their full potential.  

The full Right Route report and more information on Chiltern’s 2030 vision can be found at https://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/chiltern-railways-2030-vision  

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Notes to editors

About Chiltern

  • Chiltern Railways is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe,  employing around 38,000 people and delivering around 1.5 billion passenger journeys across 10 European countries. Arriva are part of Deutsche Bahn (DB), one of the world’s leading passenger and logistics companies, responsible for DB's passenger transport services outside Germany.
  • Chiltern operates commuter/regional rail passenger services from its Central London terminus at London Marylebone along the M40 corridor to destinations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, as well as long-distance services to the West Midlands along two routes. Services on the Chiltern Main Line run from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford, with some peak-hour services to Stourbridge Junction.
  • Chiltern also runs trains on the London to Aylesbury Line to Aylesbury (with some trains terminating at Aylesbury Vale Parkway instead), on the Princes Risborough to Aylesbury and Oxford to Bicester branch lines.