Photo  Transport
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December 2002
Virgin Trains  Rail Replacement
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Marshalls R8FWM loads at Milton Keynes. Coaches prepare for departure at Milton Keynes rail station, headed up by a Zaks vehicle.
Virgin Trains have had no luck.   Late deliveries of rolling stock, speed restrictions after Hatfield, and now disruption due to the mammoth upgrading of the West Coast main line for high speed trains.   The first stage of the West Coast modifications has resulted in the closure of the track between Hemel Hempstead and Milton Keynes at weekends from August till December.   Passengers transfer to coaches that provide a shuttle service between  both stations.   Silverlink services are also affected and some coaches call at intermediary stations on their behalf.   The whole operation is masterminded by Fraser Eagle who find themselves stuck in the middle between Virgin and Silverlink.
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Fraser Eagle organised the whole operation in a quiet, friendly and efficient manner. Seven Fraser Eagle staff help one passenger with her luggage at Hemel Hempstead. Coaches operated to a timetable, according to red stickers in each vehicle.
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With such a large number of coaches it is only to be expected that the profiles of the vehicles would vary.   Representing opposite ends of the scale are above left Arriva 4040 (YIB2396), an elderly Volvo/Plaxton and above right Yorks impressive Noge bodied MAN, S604VAY.
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All Virgin trains terminate at Milton Keynes (above left) where connecting coaches carry passengers down the M1 to Hemel Hempstead (above middle).   Rail company Silverlink operate a four trains per hour shuttle service from London to Hemel Hempstead (above right).   
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Around every corner in Bucks and Beds lurks a Dunn-Line coach.   Left: Their M325VET, a Volvo/Van Hool, waits patiently at Berkhampstead station and right: S597KJF, a Volvo/ Jonckeere passes through Autumn leaves after departing Tring station on its way to Milton Keynes.
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Coaches wait at Hemel Hempstead station car park for the service to Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes bus station has never been so busy.   Coaches at rest.
Virgin Rail Replacement
All photos taken on Saturday 19th October 2002.   Click to enlarge.
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