The morning of Tuesday, the 21st of November, saw Gatwick Airport station reopen for passengers following a transformational programme of upgrades. The project aims to provide a better experience for customers making a journey from train to plane whilst supporting passengers with easier, faster and more reliable travel between Brighton and London.
Following the upgrade work, the station is greatly improved, featuring more space and more light thanks to a new second concourse and airport entrance which has doubled the size of the station for millions of passengers who use the station each year.
The 05.48 Thameslink service from Bedford to Brighton saw the first passengers arrive on platform 7, making use of the impressive new concourse and airport entrance.
The upgrades share a focus on accessibility with the addition of new lifts and escalators alongside other features supporting passengers to travel with greater ease between the train station and airport, including:
- 8 New escalators
- 5 New lifts
- 4 New stairways
- Widened platforms
By creating more efficient movement of passengers from train to plane, the upgrades will support the broader rail network as trains are able to run more efficiently thanks to the removal of congestion and queuing on platforms which previously led to delays.
Benefits are already being enjoyed by customers travelling on the Brighton Main Line as track upgrades have seen a reduction in journey times with some services able to run between Brighton and London in just one hour.
The extension of the station concourse sees the new part of the structure act as the new entrance for people travelling to the airport terminal.
The existing concourse is now used for those exiting the station and as part of the upgrades has seen the concourse itself, station footbridges and the South Terminal linkspan fully refurbished and rearranged in order to support a one-way system to the airport from the train station.
The programme of upgrades has also seen improvements added to support customer experience, such as:
- New customer information systems
- More ticket gates
- Dedicated passenger assistance point
Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail Sussex route director, said:
“I'm delighted to see the upgraded Gatwick Airport station open today, providing the millions of passengers that use the station each year with a fantastic and fit-for-purpose station that supports the ambitions of London Gatwick and the significant growth in passengers expected in the years to come.”
“This has been a highly complex and challenging project and I am proud of how hard our teams have worked in close conjunction with our partners to deliver a station upgrade that makes journeys to the airport much easier for all passengers and encourages people to ditch the car and travel by rail, the cleanest and greenest way to travel.”
“This project is not just for those making their way to the airport, the work benefits passengers right across the route by giving them quicker journeys and a more reliable timetable. I hope passengers enjoy this newly upgraded station.”
Mark Harper, Transport Secretary, said:
“With millions of people travelling into Gatwick Airport by train each year, this station is a major public transport hub and has been upgraded thanks to government funding, improving the train-to-plane journey and delivering more reliable services for passengers.”
“Today's opening demonstrates this government's commitment to funding improvements to our rail network, transforming a vital station into an impressive gateway to the UK and helping more British and international passengers to travel by train.”
Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Govia Thameslink Railway, said:
“Our trains sustainably speed people to the airport in just half an hour from London – and that's much better for the environment than driving.”
“However, the station has been struggling with the numbers using it and that holds up our trains, delaying everyone.”
“This stunning redevelopment has fixed all that. I genuinely believe our customers are going to love the extra space and improved accessibility that will make the journey between train and plane quicker, easier and more attractive.”
Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, London Gatwick, said:
“From today, airport passengers travelling by train will have a dramatically improved experience as they pass through the bigger, better, and brighter new station concourse. This fantastic new, fully accessible station concourse will encourage even more passengers to come to the airport using sustainable public transport.”