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The railway station at Gatwick Airport is getting a massive £150m upgrade — but there will be changes to train services while the work is done.
Network Rail's ultimate aim is to "relieve crowding, improve accessibility and reduce delays for commuters and leisure travellers across the South East", by installing eight new escalators, five new lifts and four new stairways at the station, and widening two of its platforms.
Anyone who's used Gatwick station recently will agree it's in need of an upgrade, but what's this got to do with Londoners?
A two-year temporary timetable comes in from 17 May on services through the station, to allow the works to take place. During the works, 16 trains per hour will run in each direction through Gatwick station, as opposed to the 18 per hour which currently run. Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services are affected, including services between Brighton, London and Cambridge.
The main changes include:
- No off-peak Southern services will run between Brighton and London Victoria. Passengers wanting to use this route outside of peak hours can travel on the Gatwick Express instead. Southern's Super Off-Peak and Kids for £2 fares will be eligible on these services, and Gatwick Express tickets between London Victoria and Brighton will be charged at the lower Southern fare.
- Gatwick Express services will remain the same in morning and evening peaks. However, outside of these times, two fewer trains an hour will run — although those that do run will be formed of more carriages, to provide extra capacity.
So if you're travelling between London Victoria and Brighton in the middle of the day, you're going to want to use a Gatwick Express train, but those will be less frequent than usual.
If you're travelling to and from the airport itself, rather than travelling through it for a seaside jaunt, there will still be six Southern trains every hour to Victoria and eight more Thameslink trains to London Bridge (a station already renowned for its overcrowding and congestion...).
However, coastal routes to Eastbourne, Hastings, Worthing and Littlehampton will double in length during the works, to provide extra capacity. Additionally, there will be an extra Thameslink service every hour between Brighton and Cambridge on Saturdays, and the extension of an existing Sunday Cambridge to Gatwick Airport service through to Brighton, providing additional services at stations between these stops.
For full details on how these changes might affect your journey, see individual timetables on the Southern Railway, Thameslink and Gatwick Express websites. Timetables from 17 May onwards, when the changes come into effect, are available now.