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Luton Airport’s DART train is delayed (again)

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One particularly frustrating aspect of flying from Luton Airport is the fact that anyone arriving by train must get on a connecting shuttle bus to the terminal building.

Even worse, the shuttle bus isn’t free unless your train ticket is to ‘Luton Airport’. Anyone with a ticket to ‘Luton Parkway Station’ needs to pay an additional £2.40 one-way.

Council-owned Luton Rising, which owns the airport, finally realised this was a problem. In 2019 it announced it was building an automated people-mover to shuttle passengers from the train station to the terminal. Called Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit), it was supposed to open in 2021.

Luton DART airport transit

That didn’t happen, of course. It was delayed to this year and has now been delayed again, with an expected opening sometime in ‘early 2023’.

Whilst the track and stations are built, it appears that the testing phase is causing the delay. According to Luton Rising CEO Graham Olver:

“Testing of the system is significantly advanced, but there remain several important tasks that we’re working to complete with our partners.

These relate mostly to complexities and alignment of the system’s revenue and ticketing arrangements. This will also allow us more time to complete all the regulatory, operational and health and safety testing.

Construction costs have now risen from £225 million to £261 million.

Let’s see if it opens in 2023!

(EDIT, April 2023: Our Luton DART and Luton Airport Express review is now published, click here.)

Comments (32)

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  • Jeff Morgan says:

    Latest cost is now £281m to save 2 minutes on the travel time. While the shuttle bus was not ideal it cost the Council nothing, as it was operated by Thameslink. As for the towns people, who have paid for it, they won’t use it.

  • Richard S says:

    There was a useful Friday evening flight from city to ABZ returning on Sunday evenings when cityflyer were operating weekend charters fir Barwells. I regular used the service but it was always delayed and rarely more than half full… which I suppose you would expect from a positioning service…

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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