Seniors officials from Govia Thameslink have engaged in "positive discussions" about improvements to Luton Train Station, with the prospect of full disabled access.
Cllr Sian Timoney has once again praised Luton’s rail users, residents and businesses as she announced a positive step towards securing much needed improvements to Luton rail station.
Govia Thameslink is yet to announce the results of its consultation but Cllr Timoney says positive progress is being made on improvements to the station.
The council has been working closely with Govia Thameslink and Network Rail to bring proposals forward for Luton station. At a recent meeting with the Department for Transport (DfT) a number of options were discussed for the first phase of improvements, including lifts and stairs to all platforms.
It was agreed that the organisations will start working towards the preferred option to install a new bridge at first floor level above the entrance to platform 5, with lifts and stairs connecting passengers to platforms 1, 2, 3 and 4.
This option would make the station fully accessible and include a new link provided to the existing ticket office.
Also being considered for this phase is whether the front of the station around the ground floor entrance to platform 5 can be moved forward to enable a new small ticket office to be provided on the ground floor.
The current aim is to secure a commitment early next year for ‘Access for All’ funding for new lifts and stairs.
Cllr Timoney said: “First and foremost I want to thank everyone who has passionately supported the campaign so far. Progress is being made and while we’re still in the early stages, it’s the closest we’ve ever been.
“It is also fantastic that both Govia Thameslink and Network Rail are fully behind us and very much working with us and the DfT to deliver much needed improvements to the station, with accessibility being the major priority.
“The preferred phase one option is currently being costed up and we are hopeful of providing an update early next year on funding. In the meantime I want to encourage people to continue to share the group link and get friends and family members to join. The more people we have behind us, the better.”
Further phases of development are also being discussed, linking to the council’s wider work looking at reimagining and redeveloping the town centre. Other funding streams are also being pursued, including funding to deliver wider town centre improvements in the surrounding area.
Cllr Timoney launched a Facebook group in the summer encouraging communities to mobilise in order to raise awareness of the poor state of Luton Station and to speak out against service cuts to Luton.
The group has risen to almost 2,100 members in a short space of time with thousands speaking out against plans to cut train services from the station and a Luton rail users group being formed.
To join the Facebook group simply find ‘Luton Station Action Group’ on Facebook and select ‘join’ (https://www.facebook.com/groups/623672241454747/).