Plans to introduce a Luton airport express rail link from central London have been unveiled.

A half hourly non-stop service between London St Pancras and Luton airport parkway station is being proposed by East Midlands Railway (EMR) in its December timetable.

The electric train service would be separately branded, and run every 30 minutes between 6am and 10pm, 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. This would allow passengers to travel to the airport in under an hour.

Luton airport has long campaigned for an express rail service, supported by national and local business groups including easyJet, the CBI, and Federation of Small Businesses.

A direct rail link would cut 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.

The airport is separately working on a £225 million Direct Air-Rail Transit (DART) service. Due to be completed in 2021, the fixed link to the Parkway station would enable passengers to travel from central London to the airport in 30 minutes.

Airport chief executive Alberto Martin 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.”