Gatwick Express Saved
The Gatwick Express service, a dedicated non-stop service from London Victoria to the airport, has been saved after an unexpected u-turn by the Department of Transport.
In February 2006 a government review looked to axe the dedicated route in order to reduce peak time congestion on the London to Brighton line. The Strategic Rail Authority proposed that the service would stop at East Croydon and be opened up to commuter usage. The Department of Transport has now announced that passengers travelling between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport will continue to have a dedicated service.
With more than 5 million passengers using the Gatwick Express each year, the Department of Transport's announcement has been widely welcomed by the public, airlines and BAA who operate Gatwick Airport. BAA Gatwick's Planning and Surface Access Director, Stuart Condie was among those to welcome the decision and said that the airport and rail industry will work "to ensure that passengers continue to enjoy the high levels of customer service they have come to expect."
Trains will continue to run from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport every 15 minutes. From May 2008 National Express, who operate the service, will be incorporated into Southern and parent company Go Ahead will assume responsibility for the service. Under the terms of the new contract, Go Ahead will put on more trains at peak times on the London to Brighton line to alleviate commuter crowding. The Gatwick Express will run unchanged until December 2008 when modifications at peak times only will see it calling additionally at Haywards Heath and Brighton.