Timetable changes 'absolutely necessary' as Gatwick gets ready for £150 million upgrade

A new train timetable designed to deal with disruption caused by a £150 million pound upgrade of Gatwick Airport station has been released.

The work will improve accessibility and deal with overcrowding at Gatwick station but will mean the number of platforms available is reduced therefore many trains won't be able to run and others will have to travel at slower speeds.

Train bosses are keen to point out that services which serve Eastbourne, Hastings, Worthing and Littlehampton will be doubled in length to help take the strain off the network.

Those Coastway East and West services will also no longer split and attach at Haywards Heath - a point in the journey where at the moment delays often occur.

However, it does mean that for two years from May 17th, the number of off-peak Gatwick Express services will be reduced from four to two and all off-peak Brighton to London Southern trains will also be cancelled.

Initially passengers who would have to use the more-expensive Gatwick Express services were set to pay the increased fare but it was confirmed prices will stay the same as those for a Southern Brighton to London ticket.

There will also be extra Thameslink trains to Brighton from Cambridge on weekends and additional London Bridge services.

Angie Doll, Managing Director of Southern and Gatwick Express, said: "With over 20m passengers now using Gatwick station every year, this upgrade is essential to address overcrowding, improve accessibility and maintain a sustainable, reliable and punctual rail service for visitors and commuters along the route.

"This revised temporary two-year timetable will create room for the work at the station while doubling the length of trains along the coast and retaining as many services as possible, supplemented by additional longer trains, ensuring we still have the services and capacity for our passengers.

The work will also mean Southern services will stop at Cooksbridge every day for the first time.

Gatwick is the busiest airport station in the country, the work will see platforms widened, the concourse doubled in size along with eight new escalators, five new lifts and four new stairways.

Gatwick redevelopment timetable:

  • Stage 1: Platform 7 closed (May 2020 – Jan 2021)
  • Stage 2: Platforms 5 & 6 closed (Jan 2021 – May 2022)
  • Stage 3: Platform 3 & 4: lift and staircase are installed (Jan 2021 – Nov 2021)
  • Stage 4: Concourse work begins (June 2021 – May 2022)
  • Project completion: 2023
Gatwick Airport station back in 1958 Credit: PA

Paul Harwood, regional investment director for Network Rail, said:

"The continued popularity and convenience of travelling by rail to Gatwick Airport means the station is now seeing more passengers than it was ever designed to handle. With further growth forecast, the station is in urgent need of improvement so that rail travel to and from the airport can continue to grow and help Gatwick support the local economy even more.

"The timetable changes will enable this vital construction work, allowing us to make the station safer, more accessible and capable of supporting smoother journeys for more trains and passengers long into the future."