Passengers travelling to and from Gatwick Airport by train will benefit from more reliable and punctual journeys, easier access, reduced congestion and better facilities after funding was secured for a major upgrade of the station.
Gatwick has the fastest route by rail into central London from any London airport. Through this scheme, the station facilities will also get a much needed face-lift which will complement the improvements Gatwick is making to the airport through its £1bn investment programme. GatwickAirport’s rail services are also a vital link for communities and businesses across West and East Sussex, underpinning the importance this investment to help build a more sustainable economic future for the South East.
The £53m schemewill deliver a range of benefits for passengers including:
- A new platform to address the existing bottleneck in the Gatwick area for services on the Brighton mainline
- Improved passenger circulation on platforms 5 and 6 through the replacement of an existing stairway with an escalator and the installation of a new lift
- Refurbishment of the concourse area to provide better facilities for passengers and improved circulation
- Upgrade of the track and signalling to improve performance and reliability of trains passing through and travelling to/from GatwickAirport.
The improvements to GatwickAirport station will be funded jointly by Network Rail and GatwickAirport.
Mark Ruddy, Network Rail’s route director for Sussex, said: “Gatwick relies on rail and this upgrade will make a real difference for passengers. By providing a better travelling experience, together with the convenience, safety and environmental benefits associated with travelling by train we hope more people will use the railway to make their journeys to and from the airport.”
Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport, said: “Of all the London airports, Gatwick’s rail link with the non-stop Gatwick Express provides the fastest route into central London and over 30% of our air passengers use this vital service. We want to encourage more passengers to get to and from our airport by rail as it is the most environmentally sustainable form of transport. That is why we have increased our financial contribution by almost 30% to £7.9 million.
“Separately, we are investing close to £1 billion between now and early 2013 to modernise the airport facilities for our passengers. I am pleased that the station - a critical gateway to our airport - will now be developed to match the improvements we are making to the airport itself.”
Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said: “The Government is committed to making our airports better rather than bigger, and today’s announcement is an example of just that. The refurbished station will make rail a more attractive choice for everyone travelling through Gatwick and a new lift will make life easier for disabled passengers or those with heavy bags. I am pleased that travellers arriving at one of the UK’s key gateways will be greeted by facilities designed to improve the passenger experience and make it easier to get to their destination without unnecessary hassle.”
GatwickAirport station was the start or end for more than 11.5m journeys last year, making it the busiest airport station in Britain and a significant transport hub in the South East. It remains an aspiration for the future, subject to funding becoming available, to make further improvements creating a single, integrated transport hub at Gatwick.
This is a significant development project and great thought is being put into ensuring the construction works do not impact the safe operation of the station during passenger hours.
Work to finalise the design of the scheme will start immediately with the relocation of the substation due to commence in summer 2011. Passengers will begin to see progress at the station but the major construction work is not scheduled to start on site until Autumn 2012 after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games have finished. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.