Full steam ahead for Luton Station Action Group as campaign to save train services steps up its game

Luton Train Station
Luton Train Station

Momentum is building around a campaign group aiming to stop train services being pulled from Luton station in favour of Harpenden.

Luton Borough Council’s deputy leader Cllr Sian Timoney set up the group after Govia Thameslink (GTR) launched a consultation to increase services at Harpenden Station by removing stops at Luton.

In less than three weeks, 'Luton Station Action Group' has attracted over 1,300 members on Facebook but Cllr Timoney has warned that the fight has only just begun and has called on more people to get involved.

She said: “These proposals are a bit of a kick in the teeth to our communities and I am proud of the passion, resolve and community spirit which I’ve witnessed in the early part of our campaign.

"Luton is well known for people power and our communities are uniting as they do best to show that they won’t simply lie down and accept it.

“We have been sending a very clear ‘no’ to GTR about reduction in services and I’m keen that we continue to build numbers so our collective voice is louder and we are in a great position to mobilise in the coming months for long overdue redevelopment of the station as well."

Last Wednesday, senior GTR officials including its chief executive and general manager visited Luton Train Station to meet campaigners face-to-face, as well as view the current state of the station.

Cllr Timoney added: "I think they were shocked at how poor it really is. In addition to the rust, mould, cracked walls, broken windows and leaking roof, they got to see first-hand the real struggles for elderly passengers and those with pushchairs and luggage with no lifts..."

Another attendee, Ricardo Cantos, said: "I was told about the importance of signing the Harpenden & Luton consultation survey. Apparently local Harpenden residents are very vocal, influential and well connected.

"Luton on the other hand, not only has an airport, a university and an Olympic swimming pool but it is also home to about 200,000 people. Harpenden has about 30,000."

Following last week's visit, GTR have commissioned some works to tidy the station up.

Thameslink managing director Tom Moran said: “Luton was one of the first stations I visited when I took on the role of managing director last month and it clearly needed smartening up. I commissioned the work immediately and it is now under way. Passengers should see a smarter, cleaner station from next week and I look forward to seeing the improvements myself.

“We will continue to work with Network Rail, the Department for Transport and Luton Council on the design of a major project to install lifts for full step-free access.

“We are also keen to see Luton establish its own Rail User Group to represent local passengers in discussions with us about the station building and train services. These groups work very well in other parts of the network."

To join the campaign group, see ‘Luton Station Action Group’ on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/623672241454747/.

To take part in the consultation, visit: www.thameslinkrailway.com/HarpendenLutonConsultation.