03 June 2014

Unveiling Gatwick Airport’s transformational public transport improvements today, Hugh Sumner – the mastermind behind London 2012’s transport infrastructure – said Gatwick will be “road and rail ready” for a second runway by 2021, with no additional cost to the taxpayer.

Transport improvements include:

• A train to central London every 2.5 minutes by 2019
• Rail capacity doubled by 2020, and nearly trebled by 2035
• New Gatwick Express trains in service by 2016
• Quicker journey times to the West End and City, than from Heathrow
• 15 million people brought within 60 minutes of Gatwick – more than any UK airport
• 1000 rail stations within one change, including links to all UK main rail lines, Crossrail and HS2.
• Planned upgrades to M25 and M23, including smart motorway system

A doubling of rail capacity by 2020 means 10,000 additional seats to the capital every hour, transforming rail services for both air passengers and local commuters. Other planned infrastructure improvements – such as Brighton Mainline re-signalling and junction replacements – will nearly treble capacity by 2035. These increases in capacity will see more people using Gatwick’s rail station than Charing Cross mainline or Piccadilly Circus today.

Hugh Sumner, senior transport advisor for London Gatwick, said:

“Gatwick will be road and rail ready for a second runway by 2021 with no additional cost to the taxpayer. The ease at which these improvements can be delivered adds yet more weight to the obvious case for a new runway at Gatwick.

“Gatwick already has the highest proportion of passengers travelling by public transport and these improvements will help encourage even more. We want 60% of our customers to use public transport, comparable with the best globally and better than any UK airport.”

More connected
Gatwick is already the UK’s best connected airport by rail, but by 2020 it will connect directly to 175 mainline stations and 1000 with a single change. This will make it quicker and easier for people to get to the airport, including those living further afield in towns north and west of London1. For example, within 5 years, new direct services will link Gatwick to Cambridge and Peterborough, with further direct connections to cities like Oxford and to Milton Keynes also planned.

The improvements announced today will bring 15 million people – a quarter of the UK population – to within 60 minutes of Gatwick by 2019 - more than any other UK airport.

A second runway at Gatwick would also generate 22,000 jobs in the local area and the improved public transport links would open these opportunities up to over 1 million living within 25 miles of Gatwick who live in the 20% most deprived communities in England. These include areas along the south coast and in Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Hackney. 

Brand new, faster trains
Capacity will be nearly doubled through new, longer and more frequent trains. The first improvements will be new, high quality carriages designed for airline travellers on the dedicated non-stop Gatwick Express service to London Victoria in 2016. Additional new trains will then be rolled out on Thameslink services through Gatwick to London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon and St Pancras/ King’s Cross and beyond.

All these services will arrive in the heart of London faster than services from Heathrow, even after Crossrail is in operation. Gatwick will link to Crossrail at Farringdon, HS2 at Old Oak Common and Crossrail 2 at Clapham Common in the future. None of these links require additional investment, unlike the Heathrow’s aspirations to link to HS2.

More punctual, reliable and funded service
Major infrastructure improvements will also help to increase capacity and deliver a more punctual service. These include new platforms at East Croydon and Redhill and new track to separate fast and slow trains, both helping to reduce bottlenecks, and better signalling technology on Brighton mainline to improve resilience and reliability.

Not only do the public transport improvements place no additional burden on the taxpayer, Gatwick customers would actually help to make them viable by generating £3bn in rail ticket sales each year, and by helping to fill trains in both directions off peak and in the opposite direction to commuters in peak periods.

Access to Gatwick by road is already being improved, with a comprehensive upgrade programme for the lower half of the M25 and the M23 in place, including smart motorway use with hard shoulder running. The airport will be road ready for any additional passengers by 2021 should a second runway be built. The airport will also ensure that local road networks will be no busier than they are today, even after a general increase in demand. This contrasts to Heathrow’s already congested roads and the need to impose a congestion charge.

In the coming months, Gatwick will also announce detailed plans for Gatwick Gateway – which will be one of the world’s most efficient airport transport hubs, getting passengers from platform to all terminals in just 2 minutes. The Government has already committed £50 million to help build a new station at Gatwick.

The plans announced today formed part of Gatwick’s recent submission to the Airports Commission.

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