London Luton Airport (LLA) has submitted a response to the East Midlands Railway (EMR) consultation on their proposed December 2020 timetable, welcoming the operator’s proposal to introduce a Luton Airport Express service.
The proposed timetable sees the introduction of a half hourly non-stop service between London St Pancras and Luton Airport Parkway operated by electric trains. The express service would be separately branded, and run every 30 minutes between 06:00 and 22:00, with additional late night and early morning services to serve departures from the airport.
The proposals would also see the introduction of a half hourly service from Corby and other stations in the East Midlands to the airport, allowing passengers to travel from these towns to the airport in under an hour.
LLA has campaigned extensively for an express rail service, supported by national and local business groups including easyJet, the CBI, and Federation of Small Businesses, who all recognise the benefits that a direct rail link would bring to the local community and the national economy. This includes a reduction of up to 70,000 car journeys to the airport a year.
A final decision on the proposed timetable is expected to be made by Network Rail in late spring, with the new timetable implemented from December 2020.
The proposed introduction of a Luton Airport Express Service will be significantly enhanced by the construction of the Direct Air-Rail Transit (DART) service, due to be completed in 2021. The £225m investment will see the creation of a fixed link between the airport and the station, allowing passengers to travel seamlessly from central London to the airport in just 30 minutes.
Commenting on the proposals, Alberto Martin, CEO of LLA said “We fully support EMR’s proposals to introduce express services, which are vital to encourage more passengers to travel to the airport by rail. I look forward to working with Abellio as the new franchise operators throughout their franchise term, to see how we can further enhance the service with more trains and direct access to major cities in the north.”