We avoided using it in the headline but we can't resist... it's the end of the line (ho ho) for the Gatwick Express. BBC News says the government reckons it's a little inefficient to have a half-full train clogging up the lines when you could run a normal commuter service instead and, according to government calculations, get an extra 480 seats for commuters.
We take this calculation with something of a pinch of salt, however. Anyone who's ever got on a non-Express train which has stopped at Gatwick to pick up holiday-makers knows that the luggage racks are totally inadequate so you often end up with people at best clogging up the aisles or, more usually, taking up entire rows of seats with their enormous suitcases laden with non-declared goods. Death stares from commuters getting on at East Croydon unfortunately do not often translate into seats magically becoming available. The problem is exacerbated on some of the new trains which struggle to take a large umbrella, let alone a bag of any significant size.
Predictably, BAA is critical of the decision to axe the service, making the point we made above, but the Rail Passengers Council (none of whom, we assume, has ever tried to get on a rush-hour train which has already passed through Gatwick) is more supportive. In theory, more frequent trains on the Brighton to London line will help alleviate the current sardine situation, so we'll try to keep an open mind on this one.