Building work started on Gatwick Airport’s huge new railway station concourse on Sunday, as the first train arrived at one of the platforms that has been rebuilt.
The £150m project has seen many changes at the station already this year, including the closure of platform 7 and now its return, while demolition work will soon begin on the footbridge and platforms 5 and 6, which are now out of service.
All this is working towards the creation of a much bigger, brighter and better station, with much improved accessibility for passengers, all by 2023.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:
“I am pleased to see this project reach another important milestone, which will transform this vital transport hub as people return to our railways.
“Once completed, the expanded modern station will be an impressive gateway to Global Britain, improving accessibility and enhancing the passenger experience to and from Gatwick.”
MP for Crawley Henry Smith visited the construction site on Monday and said:
“During such dark days for airports and fewer people currently travelling by train due to Covid-19 it may seem strange to celebrate upgrading Gatwick’s rail station but now is the moment to build back better ensuring that as our economy recovers it does so with the infrastructure to support people and businesses. Investing to expand platform capacity and enhance the passenger experience at Gatwick is timely and I welcome this commitment.”
Network Rail Southern region’s investment director Paul Harwood said:
“We know that fewer passengers are travelling by train or plane, but we are continuing to invest for the future. By 2023 passengers arriving at Gatwick will see wider platforms, with more space for them, more lifts and escalators and the crowning achievement – a new concourse over some of our tracks.
“Today marks a big step towards that aim and passengers will see more big changes as the days go by.”
Angie Doll, Managing Director of Southern and Gatwick Express, said:
“It’s great to see such progress being made at Gatwick station that will make a tremendous difference to customer experience when traveling to and from the airport by rail.
“This significant investment will complement the multimillion-pound scheme of station improvements we’re delivering for our passengers across our entire network.”
Martin Harris, Coast to Capital Board Member said:
“As part of our Build Back Smarter, Stronger, Greener plan, we are supporting Crawley with a plan to grow and evolve the UK’s most COVID-19 impacted town into a more economically diverse and dynamic place. Gatwick is the beating heart of our area and the effects of the pandemic have impacted the aviation sector and supply chains severely. As we look towards recovery, the Gatwick Airport Train Station redevelopment will play a more important role than ever before in providing efficient and safe transport links to London, the coast and international markets. We are pleased to hear that works are continuing safely and look forward to seeing how the improvements will help rebuild the economy.”
Platforms 5 and 6 have now been taken out of use and will be demolished and rebuilt to give passengers more room. They will reopen in their newer, brighter, wider and more accessible state in May 2022.
In the meantime work has begun on building the new concourse, which will sit over platforms 5, 6 and 7 and act as a new link for passengers changing trains at the station. The existing concourse will remain but will be substantially remodelled over the next three years.
The next milestone will come this Christmas period, when only two platforms will be in use and an amended train service will be in operation. Timetable information will be available nearer the time.
Gatwick Airport to receive £8 million Government grant to protect local jobs and bounce back after coronavirus
Crawley’s MP Henry Smith has welcomed an announcement from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that Gatwick Airport is now able to apply for a Government grant worth up to £8 million per business, helping to protect jobs and the local economy in Crawley.
The Airport and Ground Operators Support Scheme, which opened on Friday 29th January, will help Gatwick (and other commercial airports across England) to cover losses on costs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, including airfield operations, contracted services such as airfield and runway maintenance, and business rate bills.
Airports and ground handlers can apply to the scheme on GOV.UK, and if successful, should receive their funding by the end of the financial year.
The financial support scheme, which follows the Government’s extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention (furlough) Scheme, is open for applications until 21st February 2021.
This investment will help support Gatwick Airport following the introduction of international travel restrictions designed to protect public health and prevent the spread of Covid-19 as the Government continues to roll out its world-leading vaccination programme.
“I’m pleased that Gatwick Airport will receive up to £8 million to help it protect jobs during these challenging times.
“This funding offers vital support for Gatwick Airport – which supports so many jobs and businesses in Crawley.
“The Government has provided unprecedented levels of support to protect jobs and businesses through the pandemic, and this latest support will be hugely important for helping Crawley to build back better after coronavirus.
“As Crawley MP and Chair of the Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group I’ve continued to urge Government to ensure support for the industry and this will remain my call to ministers.”
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented;
“A thriving aviation industry has been central to the success of this country and while we recognise the testing conditions airports are currently facing as a result of the pandemic, I believe that the sector will be ready to bounce back once restrictions are lifted.
“Today’s scheme is another step in the right direction, providing vital support for an industry that is raring to get back to business, once it is safe to do so.”