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Gatwick Airport railway station

Gatwick Airport railway station serves London Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, England. It is on the Brighton main line, 26 miles 47 chains (42.8 km) down the line from London Bridge via Redhill. The station platforms are located about 70 metres to the east of the airport's South Terminal; the ticket office is positioned above the platforms. In terms of passenger entries and exits between April 2010 and March 2011, Gatwick Airport was the tenth-busiest station outside London, and the busiest station to be dedicated to an airport anywhere in the UK.[3][4] There have been two Gatwick stations sited approximately 0.85 miles (1.37 km) from each other.

Gatwick Airport National Rail
Gatwick Airport Station geograph-3884339-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
Southbound view from Platform 2 in September 1995
Gatwick Airport is located in West Sussex
Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport
Location of Gatwick Airport in West Sussex
LocationLondon Gatwick Airport
Local authorityBorough of Crawley
Grid referenceTQ287413
Managed byGatwick Express
Station codeGTW
DfT categoryB
Number of platforms7 (3 island, 1 side)
National Rail annual entry and exit
2013–14Increase 16.186 million[2]
2014–15Increase 17.494 million[2]
2015–16Increase 18.029 million[2]
2016–17Increase 19.362 million[2]
2017–18Increase 20.328 million[2]
Railway companies
Original companyLondon, Brighton & South Coast Railway
Key dates
1891Opened as Gatwick
1946Renamed Gatwick Racecourse
27 May 1958Rebuilt and renamed Gatwick Airport
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
WGS8451°09′23″N 0°09′39″W / 51.1565°N 0.1609°W / 51.1565; -0.1609Coordinates: 51°09′23″N 0°09′39″W / 51.1565°N 0.1609°W / 51.1565; -0.1609
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

The first railway station, which was simply named Gatwick, to be built in this area was opened during September 1891. In 1946, Gatwick station was renamed Gatwick Racecourse, to reflect its historic association with the neighbouring Gatwick Racecourse, but fell out of use for a decade shortly following the opening of the nearby Tinsley Green, which was quickly renamed Gatwick Airport, during September 1935. However, the two stations had a reversal of fortunes during the 1950s, as a result of a government decision to expand and develop the Beehive airport terminal to become London's second airport. Gatwick Racecourse was entirely rebuilt to serve the expanded Gatwick Airport, being directly integrated with its newly-built terminal. On 27 May 1958, the rebuilt station, which took over the name Gatwick Airport, was opened in conjunction with a regular train service, while all services to the previous Gatwick Airport/Tinsley Green station were discontinued from that same day onwards.

Train services are provided by Gatwick Express, Southern, Thameslink and Great Western Railway. When viewed from the air (or in satellite imagery), the present station building's British Rail logo that is etched on the top of the roof is visible.[5] Between late 2010 and early 2014, several new facilities were built at the station, chiefly amongst these being platform 7; further work performed during this time included nearby infrastructure renewals and the refurbishment of the concourse. Gatwick Airport station was formerly one of 18 in the United Kingdom to be managed by the national rail infrastructure owner Network Rail,[6] but, in 2012, management of the facility was transferred to Southern.[7] In May 2018, Gatwick Airport Station was named as being the second-least popular major station in the UK.[8]



Gatwick/Gatwick Racecourse StationEdit

During September 1891, a railway station, which was originally simply named Gatwick, was constructed on the present site. It was specifically built to serve the nearby Gatwick Racecourse; as such, the station originally operated only on race days. The facilities included passing loops and sidings, which enabled race trains to be held without impeding the regular traffic moving along the busy Brighton Main Line.[9] During the First World War, these sidings were extended to allow for the accommodation of munitions trains heading for Newhaven.[10]

During 1946, Gatwick station was renamed Gatwick Racecourse, even though racing had been abandoned in 1940 and not reinstated after the Second World War; this name would be used up to 1958. In fact, the station had fallen out of use following the opening of the nearby Tinsley Green/Gatwick Airport Station.[4] However, during the early 1950s, the airport was expanded over much of the land formerly occupied by the racecourse; it was decided to entirely rebuild the station to support this new development. To support such usage, the station was directly integrated with the airport's newly-built terminal via a new upper level concourse, which was designed in-house by British Rail Southern Region. On 27 May 1958, the rebuilt station, which took over the name Gatwick Airport, was opened in conjunction with a regular train service.[4][11]

Tinsley Green/Gatwick Airport StationEdit

On 30 September 1935, a station, originally named Tinsley Green, was opened at a location only 0.85 miles (1.37 km) south of the present station.[4] Within a single year of having opened, it was renamed Gatwick Airport, following the completion of the nearby Beehive airport terminal, which had a direct connection to the station. During 1940, the airport was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force (RAF) for military use. In 1952, the British government decided that the facility would be expanded to form London's second airport.[4] The station continued to be operation until 27 May 1958, the same day upon which the present Gatwick Airport station (above) was opened. The old Gatwick Airport station, following a discontinuation of services, was later demolished.[4] In the present day, the only visible remains of the old station are sections of the former up slow line platform; sections of the connecting subway between the station and the original terminal building, The Beehive, have also survived.[citation needed]

Present stationEdit

The 1958 buildings included a parcels office beneath the main concourse, lifts and a corridor on the south side of the overbridge, divided from the passenger corridor by a glazed partition. To accommodate trains of up to 12-carriage lengths, the three old Racecourse island platforms were raised by 1 ft (0.30 m) and extended to the north by about 100 ft (30 m), except for the very long westernmost platform, which was reduced from the south. The ticket office, which is located on the main concourse of the station, was reportedly able to handle 670 separate issues of Edmondson tickets from its Bellmatic equipment. The signalbox was retained on the centre platform.[12] During the 1980s, a refurbishment of the station was conducted.[4] The station featured six platforms, which are located immediately beneath the airport's South Terminal.[4]

Presently, the ticket office is provisioned with a manned office for general tickets and inquires, which is supplemented by multiple ticket machines capable of handling online bookings; these are normally available on a round-the-clock basis.[4] A variety of cash machines, payphones and email access points are installed across the main concourse. To assist with moving luggage, a large number of coin-operated trolleys are available on site; passengers can also elect to temporarily leave their baggage at the left luggage facility.[4] A number of on-site food and drink outlets are present. Toilets are available on platform 1, while baby changing facilities and additional toilets can be found in the adjacent South Terminal of Gatwick Airport. There is no publicly-accessible car parking facility available on the site.[4] Since 11 January 2016, both Transport for London's (TfL) Oyster cards and contactless cards have been accepted for travel at Gatwick Airport Station.[13]

Redevelopment programmesEdit

On 13 October 2010, a £53 million redevelopment programme for Gatwick Airport Station was announced; this initiative would provide an additional platform capable of accommodating 12-car trains, along with the refurbishment of the concourse, as well as various track and signal upgrades.[14] New escalators and elevators were also provided for platforms 5 and 6, replacing an existing staircase to achieve improved passenger circulation.[15] Once completed, the programme should result in improved capacity and flexibility on the Brighton Main Line.[15] The project was jointly financed by the national rail infrastructure owner Network Rail, who contributed £44.9 million, and Gatwick Airport itself, who provided £7.9 million. Construction activity was deliberately structured as to avoid, and thereby not negatively affect, the 2012 Summer Paralympics, which was hosted in the UK.[4]

By 3 February 2014, the official completion of the project was marked by a ceremony officiated by Minister of State for Transport Baroness Kramer, who formally opened the new platform.[16] Constructed by infrastructure services firm VolkerFitzpatrick, the new platform 7 is served by a 975-metre (3,199 ft) loop from the Down Fast line and is used by the Down Fast services which formerly called at platform 5. VolkerFitzpatrick also held principal responsibility for the programme's track and signalling modifications.[15] This has allowed platforms 5 and 6 to be dedicated to Gatwick Express services, thereby eliminating conflicts with slower services when formerly they crossed to platforms 1 and 2.[15][17] The project had been reportedly finished on schedule and budget, despite the emergence of detrimental factors in the form of extreme weather conditions encountered during the winter of 2013/2014.[15]

During 2014, Baroness Kramer announced that the British Government had committed £50 million towards further enhancements at the airport station.[15] An initial scheme for further improvements at the station, estimated to cost around £120 million, was announced by Network Rail.[18] During April 2019, Network Rail submitted a revised planning application for modernisation activity of Gatwick Airport station; reportedly, this work, which is intended to double the size of the concourse, widen two existing platforms, and provide an improved connection with the airport terminal, is to be undertaken in partnership with Gatwick Airport authorities, the Coast to Capital local enterprise partnership and the Department for Transport.[19][20] This expansion of the station is to form one element of a five-year programme, costed at £1.11 billion, which was announced by Gatwick Airport during early 2018.[21]


A Gatwick Express British Rail Class 460 idling at Gatwick Airport Station, 2002
Northbound view from Platform 5 in March 2007
Southbound view from Platform 5 in February 2009

Gatwick station is served by:

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Horley   Southern
Arun Valley Line
  Three Bridges
Redhill or
Mainline West
(via Horsham)
  Three Bridges
East Croydon   Southern
Mainline West
(via Hove)
  Haywards Heath
East Croydon   Southern
Mainline East
  Haywards Heath
East Croydon   Southern
Brighton Main Line
  Three Bridges or
Burgess Hill
East Croydon
or Redhill
  Three Bridges
Redhill   Great Western Railway
North Downs Line
London Victoria   Southern
Gatwick Express
  Terminus or


  1. ^ "London and South East" (PDF). National Rail. September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ Pigott, Nick, ed. (June 2012). "Waterloo still London's busiest station". The Railway Magazine. Horncastle, Lincs: Mortons Media Group. 158 (1334): 6.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Gatwick Airport Railway Station.", Retrieved: 1 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Commercial information" (PDF). Complete National Rail Timetable. London: Network Rail. December 2011. p. 41. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Management of Gatwick Airport railway station transfers to Southern". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  8. ^ Jarmyn, Luke. "Gatwick Airport train station labelled 'embarrassment' after it's named second least popular 'major' UK station.", 9 May 2018.
  9. ^ Turner, John Howard (1979). The London Brighton and South Coast Railway 3 Completion and Maturity. Batsford. pp. 128–9. ISBN 0-7134-1389-1.
  10. ^ Pratt, Edwin (1921). British railways and the Great War. Selwyn & Blount. pp. 1038–9.
  11. ^ "Our History.", Retrieved: 1 July 2018.
  12. ^ "New Southern Region Station for Gatwick Airport." Railway Magazine, July 1958. pp. 489–491.
  13. ^ "Gatwick and Surrey stations to accept Oyster cards and contactless payments". 13 November 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Gatwick Airport unveils £53m station revamp". BBC News. 13 October 2010.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Railway Gazette (3 February 2014). "Extra platform opened at Gatwick Airport station". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  16. ^ Nigel Harris, ed. (5–18 March 2014). "New platform opens as part of Gatwick Airport improvement work". Rail (743): 20.
  17. ^ Network Rail (2011). "Gatwick Airport Station Redevelopment Project" (PDF). Retrieved 10 March 2014.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Pitcher, Greg. "Gatwick rail station to get £120M upgrade." New Civil Engineer, .
  19. ^ "Gatwick Airport station upgrade planned." Railway Gazette, 16 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Proposals have been submitted for Gatwick Airport station upgrade.", 11 April 2018.
  21. ^ "New five-year £1.11 billion programme announced by Gatwick Airport." Crawley Observer, 12 June 2018.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Gatwick Airport railway station at Wikimedia Commons