Travel at Gatwick Airport to transform completely in two weeks time following 'fabulous' change

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

As a gateway to and from international travel the welcome at Gatwick Airport station was overcrowded and cramped.

Narrow platforms combined with a lack of lifts and escalators made it difficult to use train services to and from the south terminal.

In two weeks time that will all change when a £250 million redevelopment is officially opened.

The UK's second largest airport in West Sussex will be able to boast a bolder and brighter station following three years of construction work by Network Rail.

Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail Sussex route director, said, "The existing airport station was never designed for the growth and the demand of over 20 million passengers year using it.

"So what we've done is really invested in transforming the passenger experience here at the airport station, in order to unlock capacity, reduce congestion and just overall enhance passenger experience."

The existing concourse has been expanded and a brand new one, the size of eight tennis courts, has been created.

Four in ten airport passengers who travel through the station will soon be using a one-way system, so people won't be bumping into each other as much.

There's brand new information screens, eight new escalators and five new lifts all designed to reduce hold ups and delays.

There are eight new escalators and five new lifts Credit: ITV News

Journey times between Brighton and London have also been cut by five minutes because the tracks have been reconfigured.

Work has been carried out through the Covid-19 pandemic with extra safety steps adding an additional logistical challenge to an infrastructure project which had to take place while the station remained opened.

Network Rail project director Mark Somers said, "We have literally been working 24/7, day and night, with partial closures to platforms to enable us to build above the operational railway which has been an incredibly difficult thing to do when you get roughly about 4 hours work every night.

"It is quite a unique task and we've got experience of doing something similar like that at London Bridge which we did ten years ago, closing parts of the station, but still operating a very, very busy timetable. “

Train journey times between Brighton and London have been cut by five minutes Credit: ITV News

Roger Perkins from Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express, said,"A simple short delay here at Gatwick Station, people getting on and off with heavy luggage, can have a ripple effect right across the network and that can have a huge impact on other trains through that knock on effect. "So making this change here is a fabulous transformation and it is going to be fabulous for our customers."Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, London Gatwick, said, "This bigger, better and brighter new station concourse will dramatically improve the experience for our passengers.

"The number of passengers getting to the airport by rail is growing steadily and now over 40% use the train.

"This fantastic new, fully accessible station concourse will encourage even more passengers to come to the airport using sustainable public transport."

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