Chiltern Railways unveils transformative ‘Right Route’ Vision for 2030

Chiltern Railways, a prominent UK-based train operator, has revealed its ambitious ‘Right Route’ to 2030 vision during a presentation in Westminster, engaging with key stakeholders and parliamentarians.

This strategic proposal outlines Chiltern’s commitment to delivering improved, environmentally friendly, and more efficient rail services through substantial investments in new trains over the next decade.

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

The comprehensive vision emerged from extensive research commissioned by Chiltern, seeking input from customers, stakeholders, and colleagues to envision the company’s trajectory by 2030.

The collective feedback emphasised the urgent need to modernize the network by introducing a new fleet of trains. Notably, statistics from the Office of Rail and Road underscored that Chiltern currently operates the third oldest trains by operator, with an average age of 28.9 years.

Richard Allan, Managing Director at Chiltern Railways, expressed the company’s determination to enhance the customer experience by 2030. He stated,

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 features endorsements from various stakeholders along the route, including VisitBritain, the West Midlands Rail Executive, Experience Oxfordshire, Baker Street Quarter Partnership, and Shakespeare’s England.

This broad support spans diverse sectors, from tourism to business groups, reflecting the widespread backing for Chiltern’s 2030 vision across all regions it serves.

Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South and Chair of the Transport Select Committee, welcomed Chiltern Railways’ ambitious plans, emphasizing the importance of passenger input in shaping the design of new rolling stock. He 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 Transport Select Committee member, expressed his pleasure in hosting Chiltern Railways in Parliament to discuss fleet modernisation.

Smith acknowledged the positive impact of Chiltern’s clear plan for fleet renewal in addressing crowding issues and enhancing the overall commuter experience.

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.

As part of its forward-looking strategy, Chiltern, owned by Arriva, is set to invite proposals from manufacturers for new trains.

These would replace the 33-year-old diesel fleet, primarily operating on the commuter route between Aylesbury and London.

Proposals may include innovative solutions like battery or battery-electric hybrid trains.

Denise Wetton, Network Rail’s Central route director, voiced full support for Chiltern Railways’ Right Route 2030. She highlighted the importance of collaboration to ensure that the infrastructure aligns and remains fit for the future through a comprehensive modernisation program.

For further information on Chiltern Railways’ routes, fares and timetables for business travel, please reach out to your Global Travel Management Account Manager.