Luton Airport is feeling the benefits of Abelio taking over the East Midlands Rail franchise, with East Midlands Railway planning to launch an “Express” service between London St Pancras and the airport.
The agreement between London Luton Airport and Abellio (which will operate the East Midlands Railway), proposes an express ral service for the next eight years.
The trains will be introduced in 2020 as pat of the electrification of the line to Corby.
A new ‘Luton Airport Express’ style-service operated by a new all-electric fleet of trains. These trains will also serve Luton, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and Bedford.
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. This will compliment the existing Thameslink service which operates a stopping/limited stop service between the airport and Central London.
Alberto Martin, Chief Executive of London Luton Airport said
“We welcome the arrival of EMR and the commitment to provide an express-style service to the airport every half an hour from December 2020. Along with the arrival of the £225m 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.
“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”
Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said:
“Abellio is delighted to have been entrusted to operate East Midlands Railway and we’ve already started on our £600 million investment package to transform rail services from towns like Corby, Bedford and also Luton Airport into London St Pancras station.”
Plugging an express gap… but competition will be big.
Whilst the introduction of a fast service between St Pancras and Luton Airport is a welcome thing to see, there will be additional challenges – and it comes from both coaches the railway itself.
The coach competition will come from National Express and easyBus, whilst train competition will come from the existing Thameslink line, that serves St Pancras – as well as the City of London and southwards.
None the less, a fast service could be tempting to passengers – providing it is priced right.
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