London Gatwick has opened a new platform at its Gatwick Airport rail station as part of a £53m joint project with Network Rail. Transport Minister Baroness Kramer was on site in February this year to officially open the platform that is set to deliver an improved service for airport passengers and commuters. The exciting project, which has introduced Platform 7, was made possible thanks to a joint campaign between Gatwick Airport, local business groups and airlines who backed the new platform and helped secure investment. The new platform and section of rail line will allow for fast trains from both London Bridge and London Victoria to travel through the station more quickly, with Gatwick contributing £7.5m to the project to ensure the upgrade could take place. Passengers and commuters can already travel between Gatwick and London Victoria in 30 minutes, Gatwick and London Bridge in 28 minutes and be in the financial district of Canary Wharf in under 45 minutes. Signalling upgrades will allow for more reliable travelling times in preparation for service improvements associated with the Thameslink Programme upgrade, which increases the number of trains and range of destinations from Gatwick from 2018.
The project also incorporates wider benefits that will allow for a better passenger experience throughout the airport. The station concourse itself has seen a major refurbishment with new flooring providing an open and light space. Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick Chief Executive, said: “London Gatwick is already the best connected UK airport by rail and this upgrade will benefit the broad range of people that the airport station attracts, from tourists to the business traveller. It will allow us to compete even more for passengers and airlines wanting to come to London and the South East region. “This is the first step in our vision for a further major redevelopment of the airport station – the Gatwick Gateway. We recognised that with over 14 million people arriving or departing by rail that an investment had to be made to improve the passenger experience in and around the airport.”
Baroness Kramer, Transport Minister, said: “Gatwick makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and we must make sure facilities are upgraded for the benefit of passengers. That is why we have committed a further £50 million towards the complete redevelopment of the station. I am delighted to open this new platform and thank staff for their work during horrendous weather.” The project is part of a wider planned redevelopment of the airport station that was boosted by the Government announcing that it will contribute £50m of funding to kick-start the redevelopment – The Gatwick Gateway.