Light rail and trams

17.04.18

Construction begins on Luton Airport rail link

Work has officially started on the £225m Luton airport light rail link.

The DART transit system will transport passengers from Luton Airport Parkway to the airport in under four minutes, meaning that travellers will be able to reach the terminal from St. Pancras in 30 minutes.

Currently, shuttle buses carry passengers between Parkway station and the airport, and the reliability and journey time of this services can be affected by traffic congestion.

The new, driverless system will be designed to ensure that services along the 2.1km route are fast, frequent and reliable as well as safe, secure and comfortable and will run between two purpose-built stations at Bartlett Square and the airport terminal, crossing a new gateway bridge over Airport Way.

At a ceremony today, Lord Porter of Spalding, chair of the Local Government Association, turned the first sods of earth, watched by Cllr Hazel Simmons, leader of Luton Council; and Cllr Andy Malcolm, chair of the council’s airport company, London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL).

Nick Barton, chief executive of London Luton Airport, explained: “As more and more passengers choose to travel through London Luton Airport, it has never been more important that they can reach the airport easily.

“The DART represents a great stride. To make the journey even better, we are also calling for the introduction of four fast trains per hour at Luton Airport Parkway station as part of the new East Midlands rail franchise.

“These developments will reduce the journey time from central London to under 30 minutes.”

Cllr Hazel Simmons said: “The council is proud to be at the forefront of creating a brighter future for Luton, and this is another exciting landmark moment in the ongoing transformation of our town under the £1.5 billion Luton Investment Framework.

“The Luton DART will benefit not only airport passengers but also the people and businesses of Luton in that it supports our ambitions to secure long-term economic growth and ensure local people have access to high-quality employment opportunities. We are all looking forward to the Luton DART opening in 2021.”

Cllr Andy Malcolm added: “The Luton DART will support ongoing growth to 18 million passengers per year by 2021, and make sure the passenger experience we provide is significantly enhanced.”

Once opened in 2021, the DART is expected to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with services every four minutes.

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