National Rail
Facing south from platform 2
General information
LocationLuton, Borough of Luton
Grid referenceTL092216
Managed byThameslink
Other information
Station codeLUT
ClassificationDfT category B
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
2021/22Increase 2.417 million
 Interchange Increase 48,344
2022/23Increase 3.282 million
 Interchange Increase 51,288
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Railways around Luton
Luton Bute Street
Luton Airport Parkway
Luton Hoo
Chiltern Green

Luton railway station (formerly Luton Midland Road) 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.


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 Railway

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

British Rail era

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-coach 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]

Accidents and incidents

There have been two accidents at Luton, one in 1955, the other in 1976:

1955 accident

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.[8]

1976 accident

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.[9]


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 Airport Parkway and Leagrave stations. FastTicket machines are used at this station. Thameslink has proposed closing the ticket office.[10]

Facilities at the station include two waiting rooms, a newsagent, cafe, telephones, an ATM, ticket barriers, toilets, and a car park with 669 spaces.


Services at Luton are operated by East Midlands Railway (under their EMR Connect brand) and Thameslink using Class 360 and 700 EMUs respectively.

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[11][12]

East Midlands Railway

On Sundays only, a limited number of Intercity East Midlands Railway services to and from Nottingham call at the station.[13]


During the peak hours, the station is served by additional services to and from Orpington, Sutton and East Grinstead.

Thameslink also operate a half-hourly night service between Bedford and Three Bridges on Sunday to Friday nights.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Bedford   East Midlands Railway
  Luton Airport Parkway


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.


  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. ^ Ministry of Transport; Brig C A Langley (11 May 1956). Report on the Collision at Luton Station. HMSO. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  9. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Truro: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-07-9.
  10. ^ Preston, Olivia (7 July 2023). "Luton MPs call on stand against plans to close railway station's ticket office in the town". Luton Today.
  11. ^ Table 52, 53, 201 National Rail timetable, May 2022
  12. ^ "Train Times: InterCity and Connect services" (PDF). East Midlands Railway. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
  13. ^ "EMR May 2021 Timetable Change Consultation Results" (PDF). East Midlands Railway, May 2021.
  14. ^ "Luton and Dunstable guided busway 'good for economy'". BBC. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "VT99 Timetable" (PDF). Virgin Trains / Stagecoach. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.

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