Luton railway station

Luton railway station is located in the town centre of Luton, Bedfordshire, England. The station is about three minutes' walk from The Mall Shopping Centre. It is situated on the Midland Main Line and is operated by Thameslink.

National Rail
Luton railway station MMB 13.jpg
Facing south from platform 2
General information
LocationLuton, Borough of Luton
Grid referenceTL092216
Managed byThameslink
Other information
Station codeLUT
ClassificationDfT category B
2016/17Increase 3.683 million
2017/18Increase 3.696 million
 Interchange Increase 0.137 million
2018/19Increase 3.802 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.100 million
2019/20Decrease 3.682 million
 Interchange Decrease 84,131
2020/21Decrease 1.107 million
 Interchange Decrease 22,211
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Railways around Luton
Luton Bute Street
Luton Airport Parkway
Luton Airport
(under construction)
Luton Hoo
Chiltern Green


Luton station was built by the Midland Railway in 1868 on its extension to St. Pancras. For some years, it was known as Luton Midland Road to distinguish it from the earlier Luton Bute Street, which was built in 1858 on the GNR line from Hertford North to Leighton Buzzard.

A public area, known as the Great Moor, had to be built through; the remainder of the land was bought for development by John Crawley, who provided a replacement in what is known as the People's Park. This proved a worthwhile investment because, as the town's staple trade in straw hats diminished as they went out of fashion, it was replaced by engineering works. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the population had nearly trebled and the station had become an important stop for main line expresses.

London, Midland and Scottish RailwayEdit

The station, consisting of only 3 platforms, was rebuilt in 1939 to the designs of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway company architect William Henry Hamlyn.[1]

British Rail eraEdit

In 1960, a fourth platform was added. During electrification in the early 1980s, a fifth platform was added for the suburban services to and from St. Pancras.[2]


Upon the opening of Eurostar at St. Pancras International, through-fares to continental Europe were made available from Luton and 67 other UK towns and cities to Paris, Brussels and other destinations in France and Belgium.[3]

The station is set for significant investment from both Network Rail and First Group to improve facilities for customers, as well as creating longer platforms as part of the Thameslink Programme. In 2009, the station was identified as one of the ten worst category B interchange stations for mystery shopper assessment of fabric and environment; it is set to receive a share of £50 million funding for improvements.[4] During 2010 and 2011, a number of improvements were implemented at the station; these included extensions to all five platforms (including removing the barrow crossing) and a new footbridge.[5][6] The platform extensions formed part of the Thameslink Programme and allowed 12 car operation at the station. During these works, two new rail overbridges were installed over Old Bedford Road allowing the track to be slewed for the extended platforms.[7]


  • Edward Holmes 1870 - 1878[8]
  • Henry Towle 1878 - 1884 (afterwards station master at Keighley)
  • Samuel Green 1884 - 1910[9] (formerly station master at Colne)
  • Richard Grice 1910[10] - ca. 1927 (formerly station master at Olney)
  • F. Butler 1930 - 1933[11] (also station master at Chiltern Green, afterwards station master at Walsall)
  • Henry Preston until 1937[12] (afterwards station master at Northampton)
  • V.L. Ward 1937[13] - 1940 (formerly station master at Chesterfield, afterwards station master at Wellingborough)
  • C.V. Bunker from 1940


Luton is served by trains operated by East Midlands Railway, under the EMR Connect brand, using Class 360 EMUs and by Thameslink using Class 700 EMUs.

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

East Midlands Railway[14]

Fast EMR inter-city services to Nottingham and Sheffield run through the station at high speed, but do not call at the station except on Sunday mornings, when a limited number of services call to maintain service frequency and provide connections north.[15]


During the peak hours, there are additional services to Rainham, Orpington, East Grinstead and Littlehampton.

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
East Midlands Railway

Bus interchangeEdit

Luton Station Interchange, in front of the station building, provides connections with local and regional bus services.

There was previously a shuttle bus service from the station to nearby London Luton Airport; however, the dedicated shuttle ceased following the construction of Luton Airport Parkway station. There are still regular buses via the Busway to Luton Airport, via Arriva's A bus, and the Stagecoach hourly 99 bus service also runs directly to the Airport terminal.


Luton station has the following facilities:

  • 2 waiting rooms
  • Newsagent
  • Cafe
  • Telephones
  • ATM
  • Ticket barriers
  • FastTicket machine
  • Toilets
  • Car Park with 669 spaces
  • 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 area as Luton Parkway and Leagrave stations.

1955 accidentEdit

Luton rail crash
Date22 December 1955
LocationLuton railway station
LineMidland Main Line
CauseSignal passed at danger
List of UK rail accidents by year

On 22 December 1955, two passenger trains collided at Luton station. One passenger was killed, and 23 injured. The first train, a local service from St Pancras to Leicester, had been given the "right away" from Luton and started to leave the station, but came to a halt when some late passengers attempted to board. As the train was clear of the Home signal, the signalman accepted the second train, an express from St Pancras to Derby. The signals were left at "Danger", so the Derby train should have stopped at the Home signal until the Leicester train had left the station. However, the driver of the Derby train failed to observe the Distant signal, and only made an emergency brake application when he saw the Home signal at danger, from a distance of approximately 400 yards (370 m). He was unable to stop the train in time, and it collided with the stationary Leicester train. The rear two coaches of the Leicester train telescoped into each other, causing the majority of casualties. The official enquiry held the driver of the Derby train responsible for the collision, but also noted that the lights from the nearby Vauxhall factory obscured the view of the Distant signal. The lighting was reorganised following the accident.[21]

1976 accidentEdit

Luton rail crash
Date25 June 1976
LocationLuton railway station
LineMidland Main Line
CauseSignal passed at danger
List of UK rail accidents by year

A passenger train being operated by a diesel multiple unit overran signals and collided with another diesel multiple unit at Luton South Signal Box. An express passenger train then collided with the wreckage, striking it with a glancing blow.[22]

7 July 2005 London bombingsEdit

On the day of the bombings, the four suicide bombers were seen on CCTV entering the station.


  1. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1968). The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough. Yale University Press. p. 117. ISBN 9780300095814.
  2. ^ Radford, B., (1983) Midland Line Memories: a Pictorial History of the Midland Railway Main Line Between London (St Pancras) & Derby London: Bloomsbury Books
  3. ^ "Through-fares from 68 UK towns and cities to continental Europe now available on". Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
  4. ^ "£50m revamp for 'worst stations'". BBC News. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Platform Extensions". BCM Construction. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Network Change Notice – Luton Station" (PDF). Network Rail. 20 January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Gently does it! Bridge moved in over Easter". First Capital Connect. 24 March 2011. Archived from the original on 22 August 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  8. ^ "1871-1879 Coaching". Midland Railway Operating, Traffic and Coaching Depts: 564. 1871. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Luton Midland Stationmaster Retires". Luton Times and Advertiser. England. 21 October 1910. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "Local Jottings". Luton Times and Advertiser. England. 16 December 1910. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "Walsall Station Chief". Birmingham Daily Gazette. England. 14 November 1933. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "Northampton Stationmaster Retires". Northampton Mercury. England. 10 October 1941. Retrieved 5 February 2022 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Chesterfield Staff's Tribute to Mr. V.L. Ward". Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald. England. 30 April 1937. Retrieved 6 February 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "Train times: InterCity and Connect services" (PDF). East Midlands Railway. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  15. ^ "EMR May 2021 Timetable Change Consultation Results" (PDF). East Midlands Railway, May 2021.
  16. ^ "Timetable 01: Bedford and Luton to London" (PDF). Thameslink, December 2019.
  17. ^ "Timetable 06: Luton to Dartford and Rainham" (PDF). Thameslink, December 2019.
  18. ^ "Luton and Dunstable guided busway 'good for economy'". BBC. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  19. ^ "Access for all as Virgin Trains and Stagecoach upgrades Milton Keynes-Luton Airport coaches". Virgin Trains. 18 November 2006. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  20. ^ "VT99 Timetable" (PDF). Virgin Trains / Stagecoach. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  21. ^ Ministry of Transport; Brig C A Langley (11 May 1956). Report on the Collision at Luton Station. HMSO. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  22. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Truro: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-07-9.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°52′56″N 0°24′52″W / 51.88227°N 0.41432°W / 51.88227; -0.41432