Report by ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins:
Despite the pandemic, the £150 million pound upgrade to Gatwick Airport's railway station is well underway.
It is hoped the work will improve accessibility and ease overcrowding.
more people use the station every year than in 2010
The station was built in the late 1950s, and little has been done to improve it since then.
This project will mean major changes to the size of the station to cope with the increase in passengers.
The concourse will double in size to provide more space and better facilities for passengers
Eight new escalators, five new lifts and four new stairways will be installed to support passengers with reduced mobility, the elderly and those travelling with a pushchair or luggage
Platforms 5 and 6 will be widened to reduce overcrowding and improve accessibility
Connections to the airport terminals will be upgraded
Because of the size of the station it was only designed for five to 10 million passengers. It has very few escalators, very few lifts for our customers so this area becomes very cramped and congested throughout. This redevelopment with new lifts, new escalators is going to be a really big step for us."
Due to the pandemic, government advice states that people should avoid public transport if possible, which means disruption for passengers has been kept to a minimum.
people use the station every year
We had to stop work for a short period of time to assess all of the activities that we've got underway to make sure we can proceed with them compliant with the Public Health England guidance. We've done that, we've reprogrammed the work and then we've progressed. We've also benefited from the fact that there's less people using the station, so for all of the tasks that were taking longer and were more difficult to perform, we're now gaining time as we're not dealing with so many people going through the station."
There was some concern about a new timetable which was introduced for the duration of the work, but due to the current lack of passengers, it has not caused much disruption.
For information about timetable changes, click here.
Once we've completed platform 7 and opened it later this year, we'll then move on to platform 5 and 6. It's a very narrow platform and so for it to accommodate the new lifts and escalators which are much larger, we need to widen this platform significantly to improve passenger experience."