The Government and rail industry are investing in the biggest improvement in rail travel since the Victorian era, including through the upgrade of the Midland Main Line. This programme will improve rail journeys for passengers using the Midland Main Line to travel into London St Pancras.
Once electrification of the Midland Main Line to Corby is complete in 2020, passengers at Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton and Luton Airport Parkway will benefit from a new, dedicated, fast commuter service into London St Pancras. The electric trains will be longer, with more seats.
We are also considering the case for additional services to Luton Airport Parkway and have been working collaboratively with Luton Airport to understand their proposals. Any outcome will seek to secure the best value for money for the taxpayer, and be in the best interests of rail passengers.
All options for rail services in the next East Midlands rail franchise are subject to analysis of the potential benefits and our consultation with stakeholders, which closed on 11 October 2017. Thus, no decisions have been made on rail services that will be specified for the next franchise. The next franchise is planned to start in August 2019. Invitations to Tender are due to be issued to potential bidders later this year. The ITT will set out the minimum requirements and provide the baseline that we expect the next franchise to build on.