The Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) will speed travellers from Luton Airport Parkway station to the terminal of London Luton Airport in under four minutes.
Scheduled to open in the first half of 2022, the new Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) will mean that you will be able to get on a train at London St Pancras Station, and step inside the London Luton Airport terminal just 30 minutes later. With a seamless transfer at Luton Airport Parkway station, the Luton DART will whisk you on to the airport terminal in under 4 minutes, with shuttles leaving every 4 minutes.
It creates an even more compelling case to fly from Luton, rather than another airport, and to leave the car at home when you do so. Our ambition, as part of our green agenda, to shift a significant amount of passenger traffic from road to rail, is given a significant boost.
The way we have built the Luton DART track also reflects our community values, with, for example, the Construction Skills Training Hub giving 720 local people the skills to enter the construction industry. More details about the community benefits are below.
Story so far
Work on the Luton DART will be completed in 2022. Below you can see some of the key moments along the way:
- July 2017: planning permission received
- December 2017: contractors appointed
- April 2018: start of works
- Autumn 2019: bridge installation
- Winter 2021: completion of train testing and installation, plus final station works
- 2022: open for service
Here are the key partners involved in delivering the Luton DART:
VolkerFitzpatrick and Bedfordshire-based Kier are among the UK’s leading engineering and construction companies, and together they have formed a joint venture to deliver the state-of-the-art Luton DART. As lead contractor, VFK is responsible for building and completing civil works for the:
- Luton DART Parkway and Luton DART Terminal stations
- Gateway Bridge, over Airport Way
- Tunnel and approaches to the airport terminal
- Maintenance area
Doppelmayr Cable Car is an Austrian-based provider of automated people movers using cable propulsion technology, and a specialist supplier of transport solutions to the aeronautical industry. DCC has manufactured the vehicles, that will travel 24 hours a day between Luton Parkway and the airport, and the operating system.
Arup is an independent firm of design, environmental and technical specialists who work with clients to help solve their most complex challenges. Arup designed the DART scheme infrastructures and systems, and took the project through planning and procurement. Arup continues to support Luton Rising to project completion as engineer and technical advisor.
Over the course of the DART project, up to 500 jobs and a number of apprenticeships have been created across a range of disciplines. Lead contractor VFK committed to delivering a number of social value benefits, and Luton Council was delighted to secure £1m funding from the Government for a Construction Skills Training Hub at the works compound off Kimpton Road.
Our investment in the Luton DART has brought large-scale social impact to the local community, as illustrated by lead contractor VFK through its local sourcing of:
- 80 per cent of materials spend (excluding steel and aggregate) from within 20 miles of Luton
- 90 per cent of plant procurements from within 20 miles of Luton
- over 80 per cent of the unskilled project workforce from within 20 miles of Luton
- 100 per cent of unskilled new recruits from within 20 miles of Luton
- 100 per cent of sub-contract and materials tenders including a supplier from within 20 miles of Luton
- 100 per cent of sub-contractors have signed up to the project’s Social Value Charter
Construction Skills Training Hub
A pioneering joint venture from Luton Council, Luton Rising and Volker Fitzpatrick-Kier (VFK) to promote skills development concluded in March 2020, resulting in more than 720 people in the area receiving essential training to help them enter the construction industry.
The Construction Skills Hub was created in November 2018 on the primary works site of the Luton DART, with a £1m grant from the Construction Skills Fund (CSF), funded by the Department for Education and administered by the CITB.
Main contractor VFK developed and delivered a series of construction-specific training programmes to a variety of college students, career changers and others either unemployed or out of education. More than 300 of the delegates were attracted from traditionally under-represented groups to a scheme focused on supporting the trainees into permanent positions.
In addition, VFK created more than 80 full-time new jobs on the DART for local apprentices, graduates and other new entrants.
Over the course of the DART project, approximately 500 jobs have been created in a range of disciplines.
As part of its commitment to using and training a workforce, VFK has:
- taken on 30 apprentices throughout the life of the project
- provided work experience opportunities for 25 people in education and 15 people outside education, training or employment
- created 78 new jobs for local people
- attended at least 30 students’ careers information, advice and guidance events
- provided training and qualification for more than 250 of the sub-contractor workforce.