Luton to Dunstable Busway

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Busway
Luton to Dunstable Busway
Luton_busway_logo
Arriva bus at Stanton Road bus stop (geograph 3716836).jpg
Bus at Stanton Road bus stop, Luton
Route
StartLuton Airport
ViaLuton
EndHoughton Regis
TimetableCB Travel Choices
MapRoute map
Route map

Luton to Dunstable Busway route.png

←      →

The Luton-Dunstable Busway is a guided busway system in Bedfordshire, England, which connects the towns of Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Luton with Luton Airport.[1] It was built on the route of a disused railway track and opened in September 2013. The busway runs parallel to the A505 (Dunstable Road) and A5065 (Hatters Way) for 13.4 kilometres (8.3 mi), of which 7.7 kilometres (4.8 mi) is guided track with a maximum speed of 50 mph. It is claimed to be the second longest busway in the world.[2]

History[edit]

Various studies had been carried out since 1989 which examined options for solving transit problems in the Luton/Dunstable Urban Area, including British Rail's Network SouthEast Plan published in May 1989. Bedfordshire County Council considered a number of possible schemes, including a single-track extension of Thameslink heavy rail services from Luton to Dunstable; a single-track diesel-powered rail shuttle service; a twin-track light rail system, with a possible extension to Luton Airport; and a segregated guided busway system.[3][4] The guided bus scheme was selected in 1996 as the most cost-effective option. In April 1997, the newly created unitary authority of Luton Borough Council took over the lead role in the project. A process of ongoing consultations, grant applications and a public enquiry delayed the project by several years.[5]

Luton Borough Council's early announcements for the Busway indicated that it would be designed as a bus rapid transit system named Translink Expressway, operated with a fleet of articulated buses of the Phileas type.[4][6] The route was built on the old railway trackbed of the former Dunstable Branch Lines, which closed to passenger traffic in 1967 under the Beeching cuts.[7][8][9]

After 20 years of planning, the Busway took three years to construct, at a cost of £91 million. It was originally budgeted at £51 million, but costs increased due to underground utilities, soil contamination and the removal of Japanese knotweed.[10] Design and construction was carried out by Arup and Parsons Brinckerhoff, including seven new bridges, and reconstruction of three bridges, bus stops and a new transport interchange at Luton Railway Station.[11] The bulk of funding for the scheme came from the central government, with additional funds from Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council, with additional section 106 contributions from developers.[2] The Busway was opened 24 September 2013, five months later than scheduled, by Norman Baker MP, a Minister for Transport.[5][12]

Two new bus stops were added to the system in early 2016 to serve the Chaul End area of Luton and Townsend Farm Road, near Houghton Regis.[13][14]

Features[edit]

The 7.7-mile (12.4 km) guided section is a rollway built from concrete beams. Standard buses that have been fitted with two small guide wheels can join the track and travel along it at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h).[11] Because it is a segregated route, other vehicles are prohibited from using the Busway. "Car traps" have been installed near junctions with the public highways to prevent motorists from using the route.[15]

Services[edit]

The concrete rollway track
Aerial photograph of the Busway in Dunstable

In accordance with the requirements of bus deregulation, bus services on the Luton to Dunstable Busway are operated by private bus companies: Arriva, Centrebus and Grant Palmer Limited. Initially at peak times upon opening (services A, B, C, E), buses ran up to every seven minutes, but frequencies have increased greatly with the introduction of new services.[2]

Busway Routes & Destinations
Route Start End
  Route A Luton Airport, Dunstable Luton Airport Luton Airport
  Route B Downside, Dunstable Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange
  Route C Beecroft (loop) Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange
  Route CX Luton Interchange, White Lion Retail Park
introduced by Grant Palmer as double-decker summer 2017
Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange
  Route E Toddington
used to run from Luton Galaxy, changed to LI from 29/5/2017
Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange
  Route F70 Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Milton Keynes Central Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange . See https://www.arrivabus.co.uk/globalassets/documents/midlands-service-documents/timetable-pdfs/luton/70-f77-march-2018_web.pdf .
  Route F77 Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Bletchley Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange
  Route G Dunstable Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange. Bus service withdrawn Dec 3 2017. Commercial decision by operator. See http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/transport/public/bus-timetables-routes.aspx
  Route Z Parkside, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, Luton
(via the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital)
Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange
  Route Y Luton, Skimpot, Poynters Rd, Tithe Farm Rd, Windsor Drive
(from 3 Sept 2017)
Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange. Bus service withdrawn Dec 3 2017. Commercial decision by operator. See http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/transport/public/bus-timetables-routes.aspx
  Routes AZ ZA
(from 3 Dec 2017)
Service operating from Luton and Dunstable, including: Houghton Regis, Lewsey Farm and the Luton and Dunstable Hospital Luton railway station BSicon BUS.svg Luton Station Interchange. Service terminated by operator June 16 2018. See http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/transport/public/bus-timetables-routes.aspx

Incidents[edit]

The have been incidents involving buses on the Busway, including a bus becoming accidentally "derailed" from the concrete rollway, and buses moving at speed colliding with stationary buses.[16][17]

Future expansion[edit]

A councillor in Central Bedfordshire Council has indicated that the council has aspirations to extend the Busway to Leighton Buzzard, 5.8 miles (9.3 km) west of Houghton Regis. This extension would create a direct rapid transit link from Leighton Buzzard railway station on the West Coast Main Line to Luton Airport.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Luton and Dunstable guided busway 'good for economy'". BBC. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Delayed Luton-Dunstable guided busway opening announced". BBC News. 23 August 2013. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Luton-Dunstable Busway Major Scheme Business Case" (PDF). Luton Borough Council. April 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b Chick, Colin; Dove, Keith. "Translink - Integrating Travel in Luton, Dunatable and Houghton Regis". Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Luton-Dunstable busway gets ready to roll". www.transportxtra.com. 5 September 2013. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  6. ^ "What is Translink Expressway?". Translink Expressway. Archived from the original on 14 May 2003. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  7. ^ Buckledee, John (2014). Dunstable Through Time. Amberley Publishing Limited. ISBN 9781445638263. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  8. ^ Holland, Julian (2013). Dr Beeching's Axe: 50 Years on : Illustrated Memories of Britain's Lost Railways. David & Charles. ISBN 1446302679. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Disused Stations: Dunstable Town Station". Disused Stations. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Concern over rising Luton and Dunstable Busway costs". BBC News. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Luton Dunstable Busway". Arup. Archived from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Luton Busway opens". ITV News. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  13. ^ Trivedi, Shruti Sheth (6 November 2015). "Busway to see improvements worth £800k". Luton Today. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Busway to see £800k worth of improvements". Dunstable Today. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Motorist ends up on busway again". www.dunstabletoday.co.uk. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Luton Dunstable Busway: Passenger recounts horror crash". Dunstable Gazette. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  17. ^ Parris-Long, Adam (5 August 2015). "Hero stops devastating crash on Luton-Dunstable Busway". Dunstable Gazette. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Top councillor looks at extending Luton-Dunstable busway to Leighton Buzzard". Dunstable Gazette. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.

External links[edit]