Luton airport will gain a frequent fast link with London as part of a £600 million package of rail improvements.

A Luton airport express-style service is to be operated by a new fleet of electric trains.

The upgraded rail connection is due to start by December 2020 with fast trains between London St Pancras and Luton airport Parkway station every 30 minutes.

East Midlands Railway (EMR) trains will also serve Luton, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and Bedford.

The airport initiative follows Dutch firm Abellio assigned to operate the East Midlands Railway franchise for the next eight years.

The partnership involves package of more than £600 million investment in improvements to rail services across the East Midlands and between Bedford, Corby, Wellingborough, Kettering, Luton airport Parkway and London St Pancras.

Airport chief executive Alberto Martin 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 £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.

“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.”

Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth 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.”

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris added: “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.”

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