New £53 million platform opened at Gatwick airport station with £50 million more future government funding for more station improvements
Gatwick’s new £53 million station platform has been opened. Transport Minister Susan Baroness Kramer formally opened Platform 7 and its associated facilities. First Capital Connect, hopes having this new platform will mean better services for passengers going to the airport, and that it will unblock a bottleneck on the Brighton main line. With some 14 million people arriving at, or departing from the airport by rail each year, (about one third of passengers) improvements were necessary for the “passenger experience.” The Brighton Main Line is one of the busiest routes in the UK and the new platform at Gatwick should mean fewer delays for passengers using the line, as well as those getting off or on at Gatwick. The news coverage of the opening is characteristically gushy. This is part of a large redevelopment of the airport station – the Gatwick Gateway. Baroness Kramer said: “Gatwick makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and we must make sure facilities are upgraded for the benefit of passengers. That is why we have committed a further £50 million [taxpayer money – see below] towards the complete redevelopment of the station.” Stewart Wingate said the improved station “will allow us to compete even more for passengers and airlines wanting to come to London and the South-east region.”
New £53 million platform opened at Gatwick Airport Station
3rd February 2014 (Redhill, Reigate & Horley Life)
Gatwick’s long-awaited “crucial” new £53 million platform has been opened. Transport Minister Baroness Kramer formally opened Platform 7 and its associated facilities this morning, signalling the first step in a “major redevelopment” of the lynch-pin airport station.
Rail chiefs hope the new platform will improve services for passengers going to the airport, and will unblock a bottleneck on the Brighton main line.
The ceremony marked the culmination of more than £80 million of investment in the line over the New Year.
It also marked a triumph over adversity for rail operator Network Rail, whose workers battled through the recent storms and floods to finish the major project on time and on budget, as well as renewing signalling equipment at London Victoria, and replacing rails at Stoats Nest Junction, near Purley.
Baroness Kramer said: “Gatwick makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and we must make sure facilities are upgraded for the benefit of passengers. “That is why we have committed a further £50 million towards the complete redevelopment of the station.”
She added: “ I am delighted to open this new platform and thank staff for their work during horrendous weather.”
Tim Robinson, Network Rail’s route managing director for Sussex, said: “Managing growth is a challenge, but a good one to have. “Gatwick Airport is significant not just as an important station for passengers, but an important part of the UK’s infrastructure. “We recognise that and this £53 million investment is crucial to keep trains flowing and improve the experience of passengers from all stations in the region.” More than a third of Gatwick Airport’s 35 million passengers a year arrive by train, and that figure is expected to rise, along with demand along the railway in Sussex. Growth on the line is currently hitting 7% per year and is expected to go up by 22% by 2020.
Chris Burchell, managing director of Southern, which provides services in south London, between central London and the South coast, through East and West Sussex, Surrey and parts of Kent and Hampshire, said: “Running around 2,300 train services per day over some of Britain’s most congested track is always a challenge. “This major investment will improve the flexibility and reliability of the network in this critical section of the Brighton Mainline. “ He said: “As a result, passengers should see an improved travelling experience to accompany our other efforts to drive up service quality on our trains and stations.”
Gatwick Airport Station, which is operated by Southern and also served by First Capital Connect, is directly linked to 129 stations, and a further 700 can be reached with just one change.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick chief executive, said: “London Gatwick is already the best connected UK airport by rail and this upgrade will benefit the broad range of people that the airport station attracts, from tourists to the business traveller.”
He said: “ It will allow us to compete even more for passengers and airlines wanting to come to London and the South-east region.”
He added: “This is the first step in our vision for a further major redevelopment of the airport station – the Gatwick Gateway. “We recognised that with over 14 million people arriving or departing by rail, that an investment had to be made to improve the passenger experience in and around the airport.”
First Capital Connect managing director David Statham, said: “The Brighton Main Line is one of the busiest routes in the UK and the new platform at Gatwick is fantastic news for passengers. “This part of the line can be frustrating, particularly during disruption, and this work should mean fewer delays.”
The new station platform is the latest in a long line of developments and improvements at Gatwick, the UK’s second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world.
Its current owners, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the majority shareholder of a group of international investment funds, unveiled a £1 billion programme of improvements designed to transform the passenger experience at Gatwick in 2010. Since then, Gatwick has scored a string of airport firsts and innovations, including the opening of Jamie Oliver’s first airport restaurant and a Harrods branch, has won a number of key international routes, and has had millions of pounds worth of improvements already spent on it.
Gatwick Airport rail station opens a new platform, signalling improved experience and reliability for passengers and commuters
3 February 2014 (Gatwick airport press release)
London Gatwick has today opened Platform 7 at its Gatwick Airport rail station, as a £53m joint project with Network Rail is completed. Transport Minister Baroness Kramer was on site to officially open the platform that will deliver greater reliability for airport passengers and commuters.
This exciting project was made possible thanks to a joint campaign between Gatwick Airport, local business groups and airlines who backed the delivery of this new platform and helped secure the investment needed.
The new platform and section of rail line will allow for fast trains from both London Bridge and London Victoria to travel through the station more quickly, with Gatwick contributing £7.5m to the project to ensure the upgrade could take place.
Passengers and commuters can already travel between Gatwick and London Victoria in 30 minutes, Gatwick and London Bridge in 28 minutes and be in the financial district of Canary Wharf in under 45 minutes. Signalling upgrades will allow for more reliable travelling times in preparation for service improvements associated with the Thameslink Programme upgrade, which increases the number of trains and range of destinations from Gatwick from 2018.
The project also incorporates wider benefits that will allow for a better passenger experience throughout the airport. The station concourse itself has seen a major refurbishment with new flooring providing an open and light space.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick Chief Executive, said: “London Gatwick is already the best connected UK airport by rail and this upgrade will benefit the broad range of people that the airport station attracts, from tourists to the business traveller. It will allow us to compete even more for passengers and airlines wanting to come to London and the South East region.
“This is the first step in our vision for a further major redevelopment of the airport station – the Gatwick Gateway. We recognised that with over 14 million people arriving or departing by rail that an investment had to be made to improve the passenger experience in and around the airport.”
Baroness Kramer, Transport Minister, said: “Gatwick makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and we must make sure facilities are upgraded for the benefit of passengers. That is why we have committed a further £50 million towards the complete redevelopment of the station. I am delighted to open this new platform and thank staff for their work during horrendous weather.”
The project is part of a wider planned redevelopment of the airport station that was boosted by the Government announcing that it will contribute £50m of funding to kick-start the redevelopment – The Gatwick Gateway.
Today’s opening is also the beginning of a rail improvement programme that will see on-going upgrades over the next four to five years at Gatwick Airport station.
The Thameslink programme will provide an additional 50% capacity by 2018 following the introduction of new longer trains and infrastructure improvement that will deliver direct links from Gatwick to Peterborough and Cambridge.
Public funding for station upgrading:
London Gatwick welcomes Government funding for the redevelopment of Gatwick Rail Station
4 December 2013
London Gatwick today welcomes the Government’s announcement that it will contribute £50m of funding to kick-start the redevelopment of Gatwick’s rail station – The Gatwick Gateway.
The announcement, made today as part of the revised National Infrastructure Plan, recognises Gatwick’s important role in UK aviation and the need to ensure a world-class railway station for both existing and future passengers.
The Government’s funding commitment follows a letter from the Independent Chair of the Airports Commission Sir Howard Davies to the Chancellor, which recognises Gatwick’s success in increasing the number of long haul destinations served, and includes a series of recommendations on improving surface access to enable passengers to more effectively access new and existing routes.
Of the 35 million passengers using Gatwick airport each year, 14 million arrive or depart by rail; making it the busiest airport station in Britain. Not only does the airport provide the fastest routes into the City and West End, it also connects directly to over 120 stations throughout London and the South East.
This connectivity will be further improved upon completion of a £53m project to improve platform capacity in early 2014 [platform opened on 3.2.2014] and with the introduction of the Thameslink franchise later that year.
As passenger numbers at Gatwick continue to grow, with new airlines flying to more destinations, the redevelopment will be vital in ensuring a world-class passenger experience both now and in the future. The airport’s analysis with Network Rail shows that a station with this number of passengers requires a concourse at least double the size of the existing facilities just to meet the current demand.
The National Infrastructure Plan also outlined a number of further measures for surface access at Gatwick, including accelerating a Network Rail study into the Brighton Mainline, incorporating the Gatwick to London route on a planned trial of smart ticketing and including access to Gatwick in the Highways Agency study on local motorways.
Commenting on today’s announcement, London Gatwick’s Chief Executive Stewart Wingate, said:
“We are pleased that the Airports Commission has taken on board our recommendations on how to ensure growth at our airport in the short and medium term and maintain the UK’s position as one of the best connected countries in the world.
“This new funding is a welcome and positive first step toward delivering the new Gatwick Gateway rail station. We have worked well with Network Rail on our current rail improvement project and are looking forward to working with them, the Treasury and the Department for Transport to leverage this initial investment.
“Gatwick currently has the highest percentage of passengers accessing the airport by rail of any UK airport and as we continue to grow the number of global routes served by legacy, charter and low cost airlines, the package of measures announced today will help us deliver a world-class passenger experience for Britons and visitors alike.”
John Dickie, Director of Strategy & Policy, London First said “The rail station at Gatwick has been neglected for far too long. For many visitors, it’s their first impression of the UK so we welcome this plan for improvement. Alongside enhanced services under the new rail franchise and the many improvements made to the airport itself, this is a key step in improvements that are good for Gatwick, good for London and good for the UK.“
Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, said “This is more great news for the airport and for the Gatwick Diamond area. The station is currently undergoing a £53million refit and we should start to see the benefits of the new Platform Seven in 2014. This money will go some way towards developing further public transport access to the Airport and I look forward to learning more about the plans.”