East Midlands and London Luton Airport to benefit from a new franchise

Posted on in Members' News

London Luton Airport Vision

UK: The Department for Transport issued the Invitation to Tender for the East Midlands rail franchise, connecting East Midlands and London Luton Airports.

The franchise set outs goals to deliver brand new fleet of trains, more seats for passengers, reduced peak journey times between Nottingham, Sheffield and London and a dedicated, high quality, express service between Corby and London. Other improvements include better compensation for delays, smart ticketing, high quality wi-fi connection, more frequent and increased capacity on local services and services that start earlier and finish later.

The Invitation to Tender specifically mention that bidders for the franchise should include initiatives that will improve rail's modal share for surface access to and from East Midlands Airport and London Luton Airport, in particular by operating appropriate earlier and later services to and from those airports.

London Luton Airport (LLA) has been calling for more fast trains to stop at the airport under the new franchise and is pleased that the ITT included those specification.
 
LLA currently has the lowest modal share of passengers using rail transport of any London airport and increasing the number of trains serving the airport will help address this, without the need for additional capital expenditure. It will also help LLA reach its full capacity, easing the capacity crisis in the South East.

Nick Barton, CEO of London Luton Airport, said: “It’s great to see the DfT has recognised the importance of improving rail’s modal share to London Luton and East Midlands airports. Improving air rail links is essential to overcoming the capacity crisis. LLA currently has the lowest modal share of any London airport, which is a limiting factor on our ability to meet the ever growing demand for air travel in the South East.
 
“The most efficient and cost-effective way of increasing modal share is to increase the frequency of trains which stop at Luton Airport Parkway to four per hour. This can be achieved at no additional cost, yet the benefits which it will bring to London and the UK are huge. This new franchise is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to improve rail services for passengers and address the UK’s aviation capacity crunch. I urge all the bidders to make the most of it.”