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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
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Luton council calls for more trains for airport

Luton Borough Council has called on the Department for Transport to introduce four trains per hour between London Luton Airport (LLA) and central London.

The council said this reflects recommendations made in the Shaw Report (RAIL 797), which asked for ‘greater local responsiveness’.

It said: “DfT is currently preparing for the tendering process for the new East Midlands Trains franchise, which is due to begin in 2018. LLA is currently served by just one fast train per hour and is the only major London airport without a dedicated express service.”

The council said that the business case for securing more fast trains on the EMT franchise estimates that it would be worth £26.5 million per year for Luton. It claims that four fast trains per hour would double the number of people travelling to the airport by public transport to more than 30%. LLA is spending £50m to increase capacity 50% by 2018.

Robin Porter, LBC’s director of commercial and transformation services, has said that without the increase LLA will be at a “significant commercial disadvantage in comparison to the other London airports”.

London Luton Airport Chief Executive Nick Barton said: “The Shaw Report makes clear that customers must be at the heart of the decision-making process within the rail industry. Committing to four fast trains per hour to Luton Airport Parkway through the new EMT franchise agreement would fit exactly in line with this ambition.”



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  • Philip Walker - 30/03/2016 13:15

    There are already 4 fast trains an hour between London and Luton Airport - the Thameslink ones. Although these call at Harpenden, St Albans and W Hampstead, they continue onto the Thameslink core bringing passengers to more central London destinations. The purpose of Midland Main Line (MML) Luton Airport stops would surely be to link MML destinations, rather than London, to the airport. Putting extra stops on MML expresses would slow those trains down for the majority of their passengers, hardly customer-focussed. The large cities of Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield surely need fast limited stop express services (first stop Leicester?), but twice-hourly frequencies to those cities mean one an hour can be fast and the other can stop more, such as at Luton Airport Parkway which could also serve as a railhead for north of London home counties for journeys to the E Midlands etc. However Govia Thameslink Railway wants to close the ticket office, so they obviously don't rate the importance of this station very highly.

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  • Colin Redman - 30/03/2016 13:57

    So what this means is the end of Leicester-London non-stop trains to pacify airport customers? Crazy.

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 30/03/2016 23:18

    Most Thameslink trains and some EMT trains do stop at Luton Airport Parkway. But the airport needs a new people carry mover linking the train station to the main airport's terminal.

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  • Mark Thomas - 31/03/2016 15:55

    Plenty of fast trains already from St Pancras to the Airport Station, but the link to the actual Airport is slow - an infrequent bus, with grumpy drivers. Plus the ticket pricing is designed to confuse - one price to the Airport Station and a different one to the Airport itself. Customers think they've paid for the whole journey, but then find they haven't. As ever, the railway needs to sort customer service, but it doesn't care.

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  • Phil Caldwell - 20/04/2016 21:13

    As Luton Airport Parkway is a station that is managed by Govia Thameslink I cannot see what this has to do with whoever wins the Midland Mainline franchise. As has been pointed out the fast trains currently operated by East Midlands Trains run fast to Leicester and Derby and vice versa, why should their passengers be inconvenienced simply because Luton Council want more trains to stop at Luton Airport Parkway? If they want more trains then petition Govia Thameslink to make more of their trains fast from St Pancras International to Luton Airport Parkway with less calling points.

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