New Gatwick Express fleet heralds start of airport’s rail revolution – with tube-like frequency and doubling of capacity in just two years
10 March 2016
The launch of the new fleet of Gatwick Express trains today marks the start of a step change in rail services at the airport - with two new fleets of trains and digital technology – doubling capacity and allowing a train to leave the station for London every 3 minutes by 2018.
Gatwick is already the best connected airport by rail in Europe – linking 129 stations directly - and the improvements will see up to 175 stations directly connected to the airport. This will bring15 million people – almost a quarter of UK population - within 60 minutes of Gatwick by rail.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport CEO, said:
“This fleet of Gatwick Express trains has been designed with the air passenger in mind and heralds the start of a step change in rail services at Gatwick.
“In just two years, the new Gatwick Express trains will be complimented by a state of the art Thameslink fleet, which together will serve Gatwick with tube-like frequency. Shortly after, Gatwick will also complete a brand new train station so we can comfortably meet the expected increase in passenger numbers.
“The rail improvements will bring almost a quarter of the UK population to within an hour of Gatwick by train. They will also help us to get more than half of our passengers to the airport by public transport - comparable with the best globally and much better than any UK airport.”
The new Gatwick Express fleet launched today will see four dedicated, non-stop trains between Victoria and the airport each hour, in both directions, with each of the 108 new carriages designed specifically for the airport passenger.
The completion of the £6.5bn Thameslink upgrade programme in 2018, including London Bridge station, will unlock the bulk of the new capacity. Over 1100 new state of the art carriages will enter service on the line – running north to south through London, between Bedford and Brighton, serving both Gatwick and Luton airports.
The new trains will double capacity through Gatwick with a service leaving the airport for London every three minutes. Two new direct services will also be launched to Cambridge and Peterborough – one leaving to each city every 30 minutes.
Thameslink through Gatwick will also be the world’s first mainline railway to use tube-like Automated Train Operation – a system that allows trains to operate safely at closer intervals on the same track - making journeys more reliable and frequent.
The improvements in services will be matched by a £120.5 million redesign to transform Gatwick Airport railway station by 2020 – more than doubling the size of the concourse area.
Gatwick has also today published Rail Revolution – a new document outlining the transformation of Gatwick rail services.