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Gatwick Airport railway station

Gatwick Airport railway station is on the Brighton main line in West Sussex, England. It serves London Gatwick Airport, 26 miles 47 chains (42.8 km) down the line from London Bridge via Redhill. The platforms are about 70 metres (230 ft) to the east of the airport's South Terminal, with the ticket office above the platforms and station entrances and exits directly connected to the terminal. The station is also connected to the airport's North Terminal by the Airport Shuttle people-mover. Gatwick Airport was the busiest station in South East England from 2017-2018 [3]. There have been two stations at Gatwick 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
1935original Gatwick Airport station opened as Tinsley Green
1946Gatwick station renamed Gatwick Racecourse
27 May 1958Original station closed and Gatwick Racecourse station rebuilt and renamed Gatwick Airport
Other information
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

The first railway station, Gatwick, opened during September 1891. In 1946, it was renamed Gatwick Racecourse, to reflect its association with the neighbouring Gatwick Racecourse, but fell out of use for a decade after the opening of Tinsley Green, which was renamed Gatwick Airport in September 1935. The stations had a reversal of fortunes in the 1950s as a result of a government decision to expand and develop the Beehive airport terminal into London's second airport. Gatwick Racecourse was rebuilt to serve the Gatwick Airport and is integrated into its terminal. On 27 May 1958, the rebuilt station, which took over the name Gatwick Airport, was opened in conjunction with a regular train service and services to Tinsley Green were discontinued.

Train services are provided by Gatwick Express, Southern, Thameslink and Great Western. When viewed from the air (or in satellite imagery), the station's British Rail logo etched on the roof is visible.[4] Between late 2010 and early 2014, new facilities were built at the station, among them platform 7, infrastructure renewals and the concourse was refurbished. The station was one of 18 managed by Network Rail,[5] but, in 2012, management was transferred to Southern.[6] In May 2018, the station was named as the second-least popular major station in the UK.[7]


Gatwick/Gatwick Racecourse StationEdit

In September 1891, Gatwick station was constructed on the present site to serve Gatwick Racecourse and operated only on race days. The facilities included passing loops and sidings, which enabled race trains to be held without impeding regular traffic on the Brighton Main Line.[8] During the First World War, the sidings were extended to accommodate munitions trains heading for Newhaven.[9]

In 1946, Gatwick station was renamed Gatwick Racecourse until 1958. The station had fallen out of regular use after the opening of nearby Tinsley Green/Gatwick Airport Station.[10] In the early 1950s, the airport was expanded over land formerly occupied by the racecourse and it was decided to rebuild it. The station was integrated into the airport terminal via an upper level concourse designed by British Rail Southern Region. On 27 May 1958, the rebuilt station, Gatwick Airport, opened with a regular train service.[10][11]

Tinsley Green/Gatwick Airport StationEdit

Site of the original Gatwick Airport station at Tinsley Green

On 30 September 1935 Tinsley Green station was opened 0.85 miles (1.37 km) south of the present station.[10] Within a year it was renamed Gatwick Airport, following the completion of the Beehive airport terminal, which had a direct subway connection to the station. In 1940, the airport was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force (RAF) for military use. In 1952, the government decided to expand the airport as London's second airport.[10] The station continued in operation until 27 May 1958 when the new Gatwick Airport station (above) opened. The old station was later demolished.[10] The only visible remains of the old station are sections of the former up slow line platform and sections of the subway between the station and the original terminal building.[citation needed]

Present stationEdit

The 1958 facilities included a parcels office beneath the main concourse, lifts and a corridor on the south side of the overbridge, separated 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 on the main concourse of the station was able to handle 670 separate issues of Edmondson tickets from its Bellmatic equipment. The signalbox was retained on the centre platform.[12] In the 1980s, the station was refurbished.[10] The station had six platforms immediately beneath the airport's South Terminal.[10]

The ticket office is manned for tickets and inquires, supplemented by ticket machines capable of handling online bookings usually available on a round-the-clock basis.[10] Automated teller machines, payphones and email access points are installed on the main concourse. To assist with moving luggage, coin-operated trolleys are available as is a left luggage facility.[10] On-site food and drink outlets are present. Toilets are available but baby changing facilities and additional toilets can be found in the adjacent South Terminal. There is no car parking facility.[10] Transport for London's (TfL) Oyster cards and contactless cards are accepted for travel at the station.[13]


On 13 October 2010, a £53 million redevelopment programme was announced to provide another platform capable of accommodating 12-car trains, refurbishment of the concourse, and track and signal upgrades.[14] Escalators and elevators were provided for platforms 5 and 6, replacing a staircase to achieve improved circulation.[15] The programme resulted in improved capacity and flexibility on the Brighton Main Line.[15] The project was jointly financed by Network Rail, who contributed £44.9 million, and Gatwick Airport who provided £7.9 million. Construction was structured to not negatively affect the 2012 Summer Paralympics, which was hosted in London.[10]

By 3 February 2014, completion was marked by a ceremony officiated by Minister of State for Transport Baroness Kramer, who formally opened the new platform.[16] Constructed by VolkerFitzpatrick, platform 7 is served by a 975-metre (3,199 ft) loop from the down fast line and used by services which formerly called at platform 5. VolkerFitzpatrick were responsible for 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 was finished on schedule and budget, despite extreme weather conditions during the winter of 2013/2014.[15]

In 2014, Baroness Kramer announced that the government had committed £50 million towards further improvements.[15] A scheme for further improvements estimated to cost around £120 million, was announced by Network Rail.[18] In April 2018, Network Rail submitted a planning application for modernising the station; doubling the size of the concourse, widening two platforms, and improving connections to the airport terminal. It was done in partnership with Gatwick Airport authorities, the Coast to Capital local enterprise partnership and the Department for Transport.[19][20] The expansion is an element of a five-year programme, costed at £1.11 billion, announced by Gatwick Airport in 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 Airport is served by trains operated by Gatwick Express, Southern, Thameslink and Great Western Railway. The typical off-peak service at the station is:

Gatwick Express [22][23]Edit



Great Western Railway [24]Edit

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


  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. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "Management of Gatwick Airport railway station transfers to Southern". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  7. ^ Jarmyn, Luke. "Gatwick Airport train station labelled 'embarrassment' after it's named second least popular 'major' UK station.", 9 May 2018.
  8. ^ Turner, John Howard (1979). The London Brighton and South Coast Railway 3 Completion and Maturity. Batsford. pp. 128–9. ISBN 0-7134-1389-1.
  9. ^ Pratt, Edwin (1921). British railways and the Great War. Selwyn & Blount. pp. 1038–9.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Gatwick Airport Railway Station.", Retrieved: 1 July 2018.
  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.
  22. ^ [1] London-Gatwick: Gatwick Express 2019
  23. ^ [2] London-Brighton: Gatwick Express 2019
  24. ^ [3] Reading-Redhill/Gatwick Airport: GWR 2019

External linksEdit

  Media related to Gatwick Airport railway station at Wikimedia Commons