Airport boss welcomes £600m rail investment plan

Aug 21, 2019

A train pulls into Luton Airport Parkway station.

FAST TRAINS every 30 minutes between London and Luton Airport Parkway are part of a £600 million improvement programme announced by the new operator of the rail network in the East Midlands.

London Luton Airport has announced a new partnership agreement with Abellio, which will operate the East Midlands Railway for the next eight years. The partnership will bring a package of investment in rail services between Bedford, Corby, Wellingborough, Kettering, Luton Airport Parkway and London St Pancras. 

East Midlands Railway will oversee the delivery of improvements to improve customers’ experience, improve rail connections and drive economic growth including more regular services between London St Pancras station and Luton Airport, with a new ‘Luton Airport Express’ style-service operated by a new all-electric fleet of trains that will also serve Luton, Bedford, Corby, Kettering, and Wellingborough.  

This new rail service will come into service by December 2020 and will feature fast trains between St Pancras and Luton Airport Parkway every 30 minutes.

London Luton chief executive Alberto Martin said: “Along with the arrival of the £225 million Direct Air-Rail Transit service in 2021, linking Luton Airport Parkway station directly with the airport terminal, we will see a step change in rail connectivity between London and its fastest-growing airport.”

EMR’s plans also include:

  • Replacement of the entire intercity train fleet including 165 brand new intercity bi-mode carriages (33 trains) that will link cities in the North and East Midlands to London St Pancras;
  • Investment of £20 million at all stations with specific improvements made at St Pancras;
  • Partnership Agreements signed with HS1 Ltd which runs St Pancras Station and London Luton Airport to improve rail services and facilities for passengers, especially at St Pancras station.

EMR managing director Julian Edwards said: “Today is a new era for rail services on East Midlands Railway.  We are investing in new and better trains, improved stations and more services, including between London and key destinations like London Luton Airport and Corby.  Our customers will also notice significant improvements at St Pancras station when they arrive at and depart from the station.”

Mr Martin added: “Once the developments are completed, passengers will be able to reach the airport terminal in a little under half an hour from central London. This transformation of service with its own sub brand, website, easier ticketing and dedicated platform at St Pancras will be welcomed by all passengers who travel to us by rail.”

EMR operator Abellio has already begun work on the £600 million programme.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “Abellio’s exciting plans for East Midlands Railway will make a real difference to passengers, delivering state-of-the-art trains with more seats, station improvements and trialling hydrogen fuel cell technology to ensure that East Midlands Railway becomes one of the most environmentally-friendly in the UK.

“This investment will also lead to more punctual journeys for passengers and play a major role in building a railway that’s fit for the future.”

News Filter
online publications

Read the Latest Editions