Transforming your journey at Gatwick Airport
Architect’s impression of the new passenger concourse
Network Rail is delivering a vital £150m upgrade to Gatwick Airport Railway Station to relieve crowding, improve accessibility and reduce delays for commuters and leisure travellers across the South East.
With the number of customers visiting the station set to grow, this important investment will upgrade the railway station and help the airport to play an even bigger role in the local economy’s growth as a hub for international visitors.
It will be delivered between May 2020 and 2023, with two years of intensive platform works between May 2020 and May 2022. While these platform works are underway, we’ll be introducing a dedicated timetable to keep you on the move.
Upgrade plans and benefits
The upgrade will:
- Double the size of the station concourse through the construction of a new concourse above platforms 5, 6 and 7, the refit of the existing station concourse and the construction of a new separate staff building to create more space for customers
- Improve customer access, especially for wheelchair users and those with luggage by building five new lifts, eight new escalators, new staircases and improved wayfinding throughout the station buildings
- Reduce platform overcrowding and reduce train delays across the network by widening platforms 5 and 6, through adding a new lift and set of stairs on platforms 3 & 4 and new lifts, escalators and stairs on platforms 5, 6 and 7. This will make it much faster for passengers to board and alight trains and clear platforms, helping our team to dispatch trains quickly and keep services running on time
To enable the work, the station will need to be managed differently. We will need to change walking routes at the station, so we’re planning extensively to ensure that every customer is supported during this exciting time at the airport. This includes ensuring that step-free access to and from the platforms is available at all times.
You can find out more about the Gatwick Railway Station upgrade project at: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/sussex/upgrading-the-brighton-main-line/gatwick-airport-station-upgrade/
Train services during the upgrade
We are working closely with Network Rail, Gatwick Airport, transport and rail groups and other stakeholders across the South East to introduce a dedicated timetable that will remain consistent for the two years of platform works. While coronavirus has impacted train services, the timetable in place from the 17 May 2020 has these plans at its centre.
We are introducing a dedicated timetable because the platform works between May 2020 and May 2022 will prevent trains from stopping at some platforms and a 30mph speed restriction will be in place when trains pass through the worksite.
While this important work is underway, there are sixteen trains per hour in each direction through the station for the majority of the day, two fewer than could otherwise run. This will mean changes to Gatwick Express, Southern and Thameslink services as we make the most of the available capacity on the railway and run longer trains wherever possible.
Customers will continue to have access to as many services as possible, at a time when fewer trains can operate per hour, and the timetable has been designed to deliver a punctual service so that passengers can rely on connections. We are working to deliver this important upgrade with as little disruption as possible.
The full timetable is available in journey planners such as www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Here is a summary of the main changes for services from 17 May 2020 compared to the Winter 2019 timetable:
- Thameslink services have been increased with the addition of a second train each hour between Brighton and Cambridge on Saturday and the extension of an existing Sunday Cambridge to Gatwick Airport service through to Brighton. This will mean additional services at Brighton, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport, East Croydon, London Bridge and through to Cambridge and new journey opportunities through connections with other services.
The new Thameslink services will also help to create more room on board existing Thameslink services such as Brighton to Bedford services by providing more Thameslink services between London and Brighton.
On Sundays, there are some changes to calling patterns for stations north of Gatwick to minimise disruption and to ensure as much consistency as possible during weekend engineering work.
Notably, this has reduced the planned service at Earlswood and Salfords stations from two to one train per hour on Sundays. This is planned to create a much more predictable service for customers at these stations. More often than not engineering work significantly disrupts all train services on Sundays; this change will help keep trains running.
Gatwick Express has been temporarily suspended as a result of changes in demand for the airport. However, Gatwick Express trains and crew will support their colleagues at Southern by operating 12 carriage trains between Brighton and London as detailed below.
On Sundays, a half-hourly Gatwick Express service will operate between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport only.
Southern services from the West Coastway (Littlehampton via Hove) and East Coastway (Hastings / Eastbourne via Lewes) to London Victoria will run with longer eight carriage trains throughout most of the day, instead of four carriage trains, providing twice as much space on-board and much more space for customers on the busiest sections of the network.
West Coastway services will make new station stops at Preston Park (increasing services to half hourly), Hassocks and Burgess Hill, and East Coastway services will make extra station stops at Wivelsfield, introducing a new half-hourly service in both directions at Wivelsfield.
A Southern service with 12 carriage trains will run between Brighton and London Victoria, Monday-Saturday, calling at Haywards Heath, Gatwick Airport and East Croydon. Some of these services will use Gatwick Express trains
On Sundays, Southern services will run as in the Winter 2019 timetable, albeit with the addition of stops at Cooksbridge on the East Coastway service, creating a Sunday service at this station for the first time.
Q. Why have you stopped joining or splitting trains at Haywards Heath?
Southern services from the East Coastway (Eastbourne via Lewes) and the West Coastway (Littlehampton via Lewes) will now predominantly operate with longer eight carriage trains throughout most of the day as dedicated services, instead of four carriage trains, providing twice as much space on-board and much more passenger space on the busiest sections of the network.
This replaces the practice of joining trains from both Coastway routes at Haywards Heath to form a single train towards London and splitting the train in the opposite direction. We need to make this change to deliver the upgrade.
This is because splitting and joining trains at Haywards Heath adds too much risk of disruption because of the need to maintain consistent arrival and dwell times when fewer platforms are available at Gatwick.
Q. What does this mean for services between Gatwick Airport and London?
While there is some variation during the day as an example of the standard repeating pattern (12:00-13:00):
- Weekdays and Saturdays – Sixteen trains per hour in each direction between Gatwick Airport and London. This is formed of eight Thameslink services, and eight Southern services
- Sundays - Eleven trains per hour in each direction between Gatwick Airport and London. This is formed of six Thameslink services, and five Southern services
Q. What does this mean for services between Brighton and London?
While there is some variation during the day, as an example of the standard repeating pattern (12:00-13:00):
- Weekdays and Saturdays – Six trains per hour in each direction between Brighton and London. This is formed of four Thameslink services and two Southern services with the latter operating as twelve carriage instead of eight carriage trains
- Sundays – Five trains per hour in each direction between Brighton and London. This is formed of three Thameslink services and two Southern services.
Find out more
You can find out more about the Gatwick Airport railway station upgrade at: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/sussex/upgrading-the-brighton-main-line/gatwick-airport-station-upgrade/