Luton Airport Parkway railway station

Coordinates: 51°52′23″N 0°23′46″W / 51.873°N 0.396°W / 51.873; -0.396
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Luton Airport Parkway National Rail
Aerial photo of the station with former airport shuttle buses waiting in front
Luton Airport Parkway is located in Bedfordshire
Luton Airport Parkway
Luton Airport Parkway
Location of Luton Airport Parkway in Bedfordshire
LocationPark Town, Luton
Local authorityBorough of Luton
Grid referenceTL105205
Managed byThameslink
Station codeLTN
DfT categoryD
Number of platforms6 (4 National Rail
2 Luton DART)
National Rail annual entry and exit
2018–19Increase 4.149 million[1]
– interchange Decrease 0.119 million[1]
2019–20Increase 4.201 million[1]
– interchange Increase 0.126 million[1]
2020–21Decrease 0.694 million[1]
– interchange Decrease 25,227[1]
2021–22Increase 1.991 million[1]
– interchange Increase 74,151[1]
2022–23Increase 3.768 million[1]
– interchange Decrease 5,783[1]
Key dates
November 1999Station opened
Other information
External links
Coordinates51°52′23″N 0°23′46″W / 51.873°N 0.396°W / 51.873; -0.396
 London transport portal

Luton Airport Parkway railway station is on the Midland Main Line in England, serving south Luton and Luton Airport in Bedfordshire. The station is situated in Luton's Park Town district, being 29.27 miles (47.11 km) from London St Pancras between Harpenden to the south and Luton to the north. Its three-letter station code is LTN, also the IATA code for the airport.

The station is served by Thameslink operated trains on the Thameslink route and by East Midlands Railway.

It is situated approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the airport. Luton DART, a light rail/people mover transit, links the station to the airport terminal.


The Bedford–London section of the Midland Main Line was opened on 1 October 1868 by the Midland Railway to provide a new direct route into London St Pancras.[2] The Midland Main Line had stations in the Luton area at Luton, Chiltern Green and Harpenden.

Luton Municipal Airport was opened on 16 July 1938 by the Secretary of State for Air, Kingsley Wood. During World War Two, the airport served as an RAF base for No. 264 Squadron RAF, but the airport returned to civilian use after the war. From the 1950s and 1960s, the airport's business increased with the growth of the package holiday market (later assisted by a popular 1977 television advert for Campari featuring Lorraine Chase which mentioned the airport).[3][4] The nearest railway station to Luton Airport was Luton railway station, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) away in Luton town centre; although the Midland Main Line line passed close to Luton Airport, for the first 60 years of the airport's operation there was no dedicated railway station. To support the increasing passenger traffic, Luton Airport provided a shuttle bus service from Luton to the airport terminal.[5]

In 1999, Luton Airport Parkway was opened. Although it was designed specifically to serve Luton Airport, it was also given the parkway name, a title applied to British railway stations that have been designed as a park and ride railway station with motorists in mind, providing car parking facilities for commuters travelling onwards into London.[6] Because the parkway station was located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) to the west of Luton Airport, and airport was at the top of a hill, it was still necessary to link to the airport with shuttle buses. Initially these were operated by National Car Parks on behalf of the airport's owners and provided passengers with a free transfer.[7] In January 2008 the free shuttle bus service was replaced by a more frequent, but chargeable, service provided by First Capital Connect.[citation needed]

With the opening of the cross-London Thameslink route 11 years earlier, the new station provided a direct rail link from Luton Airport to central and south London, Gatwick Airport and Brighton, as well as the Midland Mainline Routes to the East Midlands.[8] In November 2008, the station became the first on the Thameslink route to have its platforms extended in order to accommodate twelve-coach trains as part of the Thameslink Programme.[9] In April 2013, a new northern entrance was opened on Kimpton Road, Luton.[citation needed]

Contactless bank cards (but not Oyster cards) became valid for journeys to and from London from October 2019.[10][11]


Rail services[edit]

Map of London airport Tube and rail connections

Services at Luton Airport Parkway are operated by East Midlands Railway and Thameslink mostly using Class 360 and 700 EMUs.

East Midlands Railway

East Midlands Railway runs most of their services under the EMR Connect / Luton Airport Express banner, after it became an official separate brand in 2023.[12]

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[13][14]

On Sundays only, a limited number of intercity East Midlands Railway services between Nottingham and Sheffield and London St Pancras International call at the station using Class 222 DMUs.

On Weekdays, a very limited early morning and late evening service between Derby and Nottingham and London St Pancras International calls at the station.[15][16]


The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:

During the peak hours, the station is served by additional services to and from Orpington, Sutton, East Grinstead and Littlehampton.

Thameslink also operate a half-hourly night service between Bedford and Three Bridges on Sunday to Friday nights.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Luton   East Midlands Railway
  London St Pancras International
Preceding station   Luton Airport Rail Link   Following station
Terminus   DART   Luton Airport Terminal

Luton DART[edit]

Map of the Luton DART airport transit

Luton DART, a 1.4-mile (2.3 km) light rail/ automated guided people mover line, provides a five-minute transfer between Luton Airport Parkway station and Luton Airport. It operates 24 hours a day.[17] The DART platforms are located in a terminus building above the Parkway station, connected to the main-line rail platforms via lifts and escalators and a footbridge.[18][19]

The DART transit was officially opened by King Charles III in December 2022.[20] It opened to passengers on 10 March 2023 and has replaced the shuttle bus service.[21]

The single fare for the DART is £4.90. Rail tickets marked "Luton Airport" include the price of the DART transit.[22] Concessions are given to Luton residents, and free travel is provided for holders of concessionary travel passes and disabled blue badge holders, and for airport workers.[23]

Bus services[edit]

Luton to Dunstable Busway route

Parkway station is served by bus services on the Luton to Dunstable Busway Route A, which run between Dunstable and Luton Airport via Luton railway station.[24][25]

Until March 2023 a dedicated airport shuttle bus service was in operation to convey air passengers from the Parkway station to the airport terminal. The single fare was £2.40, and the return fare was £3.80. Rail tickets marked "Luton Airport" included the bus fare.[26][27] The shuttle bus has now been replaced by the Luton DART light rail transit.[21]

Station facilities[edit]

  • Four platforms
  • Four waiting rooms
  • Newsagent/Cafe
  • Telephones
  • ATM
  • Ticket barriers
  • FastTicket machine
  • Toilets
  • Multistorey car park
  • Free 20 minute wait car park
  • The station participates in the Plusbus scheme where train and bus tickets can be bought together for a cheaper price. It is in the same town as Luton and Leagrave stations.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Estimates of station usage". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  2. ^ "A Midland Railway chronology>London extension". The Midland Railway Society. 1998. Archived from the original on 28 December 2008.
  3. ^ "Airport History". London Luton Airport. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2007.
  4. ^ "Luton Airport marks 80th birthday". BBC News. 16 July 2018. Archived from the original on 19 October 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  5. ^ Beddall, David (30 October 2022). Luton's Transport: A Journey Through Time. Pen and Sword Transport. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-5267-5561-2. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  6. ^ Shannon, Paul D. (30 November 2019). British Railway Infrastructure Since 1970: An Historical Overview. Pen and Sword. pp. 128–129. ISBN 978-1-5267-3480-8. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  7. ^ David, Gareth (30 September 2017). Railway Renaissance: Britain's Railways After Beeching. Pen and Sword. p. 195. ISBN 978-1-4738-6202-9. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  8. ^ Haywood, Russell (23 March 2016). Railways, Urban Development and Town Planning in Britain: 1948–2008. Routledge. p. 225. ISBN 978-1-317-07164-8. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  9. ^ "Thameslink Programme". Network Rail. Archived from the original on 8 February 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Tap, Tap, Fly, from Luton Airport – Oyster Fares Central". Oyster Fares Central. 24 October 2019. Archived from the original on 29 June 2022. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  11. ^ "Contactless travel extended to Luton Airport Parkway". Railway Gazette International. 22 October 2019. Archived from the original on 23 October 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  12. ^ "Luton Airport Express website". 31 March 2023.
  13. ^ Table 52, 53, 201 National Rail timetable, May 2022
  14. ^ "Train Times: InterCity and Connect services" (PDF). East Midlands Railway. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
  15. ^ "EMR May 2021 Timetable Change Consultation Results" (PDF). East Midlands Railway, May 2021.
  16. ^ "Non-stop service from Luton Airport to London to be launched". ITV News. 14 February 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  17. ^ "DART train between London Luton Airport and St Pancras one step closer". ITV News. 20 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  18. ^ "Transforming Luton Airport Parkway". Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd. Archived from the original on 29 May 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Luton DART". Luton Rising. 6 September 2021. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  20. ^ Hutchinson, Laura (6 December 2022). "In Pictures: King Charles rides Luton DART during visit to the town". Luton Today. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Luton Dart airport shuttle welcomes first passengers". BBC News. 10 March 2023. Archived from the original on 28 March 2023. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  22. ^ Preston, Olivia (6 March 2023). "Luton DART set to replace shuttle bus service by end of March". Luton Today. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  23. ^ Duncan, Euan (19 October 2022). "Fares for new Luton Airport DART transport system unveiled". bedfordshirelive. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  24. ^ "Routes & Timetables". Busway. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  25. ^ "Luton-Dunstable Busway map" (PDF). Central Bedfordshire Council. October 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 May 2023. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  26. ^ "Train Information to LLA – London Luton Airport". Archived from the original on 20 January 2022. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  27. ^ "How often does the shuttle bus run between London Luton Airport and Luton Airport Parkway Rail Station?". London Luton Airport. Retrieved 9 August 2013.

External links[edit]