Ambitious plans to link Luton Airport and Parkway station by rail have been narrowed down to two final options, the Luton News can reveal.
On Thursday Transport Secretary Patick McLoughlin heralded the potential of Luton Airport, as work on a £110 million redevelopment commenced.
The works will bring about a significant amount of improvements for passengers, but connectivity between the terminal and Parkway station is still seen as a weakness for the airport.
Speaking exclusively to the Luton News, airport chief executive Nick Barton asserted that plans to directly link the two transport hubs by rail remain firmly on track.
He said: “We have two options and we need to resolve which one it will be.
“It’s a question of how you want the airport to be perceived in 15 or 20 years time which drives your decision process today.
“We are just going through that process today.
“Both are excellent solutions, it is a question of choosing which one will be the best.”
In November the airport’s owner, London Luton Airport Ltd, applied to the council for its opinion on whether an environmental impact assessment will be needed for its final proposals.
This ‘screening’ process often takes place before large scale developments which may have significant effects on the environment.
LLAL’s application for an EIA screening opinion centres around Stirling Place, Kimpton Road and the airport– indicating that any rail link will be built to the back of the station.
The Luton News understands that London Luton Airport Ltd has purchased Stirling Place.
On the airport’s vision for the rail link, Mr Barton said: “It’s about a seamless branded journey, those are the words we wrap around it.
“If you choose to come here by train from either north or south, it should be as painless as it can, that’s the objective.
“Adequate is not good enough.”
He added: “It is 42 metres in vertical height between the terminal and the rail line and I think historically that has scared people as they have come to the conclusion that trains just don’t go up hills.
“You can deal with that, they do go up hills.
“People have found 42 metres as being a daunting issue and an excuse to do nothing, we are not of that mind frame, nor are Luton Borough Council.
“There is a very strong desire to resolve it, there is also a very strong business case behind it.”