Wednesday 7 Apr 2010
LUTON BRIDGE UPGRADE BRINGS LONGER TRAINS A STEP CLOSER
The prospect of 12-carriage trains calling at Luton station moved a step closer this Easter thanks to the successful upgrade to the town’s main railway bridge.
As part of the £5.5bn Thameslink upgrade, Network Rail is extending the platforms at Luton station to allow the first longer 12-car trains to stop at the station from December 2011, increasing the number of seats for passengers by 50% on these services. To provide the necessary space to extend the platforms, the bridge which carries the railway over Old Bedford Road has been widened.
Dyan Crowther, Network Rail route director, said: “The congestion-busting Thameslink upgrade will give passengers what they want – longer trains, more seats and more frequent services. Now that we’ve got the extra space to complete this important improvement our work to extend the platforms at Luton station can continue right on track.”
David Statham, First Capital Connect projects director, said: “We've achieved so much already through the Thameslink Programme, adding an extra 23 new trains and almost 5,000 more seats. The new bridge at Luton is a key step towards our next goal – the first 12-carriage trains from December 2011."
Network Rail engineers have been on site since November last year carrying out preparatory works ready for last weekend’s main event. These included installation of piles to form an access road for plant and vehicles onto the bridge on Old Bedford Road from Hucklesby Way, strengthening of the embankment and the extension of bridge abutments on both the Hucklesby Way and Midland Road sides of Old Bedford Road.
The bridge lift took place over the long weekend to minimise disruption and Network Rail has worked closely with Luton Borough Council for the duration of the project to ensure motorists and pedestrians weren’t unduly inconvenienced.
Dyan Crowther continued: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Luton for their co-operation and apologise for any inconvenience caused during these essential works. The Thameslink upgrade will make a real difference to rail services in Luton and help make rail an even more attractive option for everyone.”
The Thameslink upgrade involves improvements to fifty stations with a combined total of 4km of additional platform length being constructed – that’s around double the length of the runway at Luton Airport.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.