Gatwick Airport railway station

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Gatwick Airport National Rail
Unit 387205 at Gatwick Airport.jpg
Gatwick Express Class 387s at platforms 5 and 6
Gatwick Airport is located in West Sussex
Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport
Location of Gatwick Airport in West Sussex
LocationGatwick Airport
Local authorityBorough of Crawley
Grid referenceTQ287413
Managed byGatwick Express
Station codeGTW
DfT categoryB
Number of platforms7
National Rail annual entry and exit
2016–17Increase 19.362 million[2]
2017–18Increase 20.328 million[2]
2018–19Increase 21.225 million[2]
2019–20Decrease 21.051 million[2]
– interchange  1.527 million[2]
2020–21Decrease 1.686 million[2]
– interchange Decrease 0.319 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
 London transport portal

Gatwick Airport railway station is on the Brighton Main Line in West Sussex, England. It serves 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.

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 Govia Thameslink Railway under the Gatwick Express, Southern, and Thameslink brands, 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 Station[edit]

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 Station[edit]

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.[12]

Present station[edit]

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.[13] 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 staffed for ticket sales and enquiries, 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.[14]


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.[15] Escalators and lifts were provided for platforms 5 and 6, replacing a staircase to achieve improved circulation.[16] The programme resulted in improved capacity and flexibility on the Brighton Main Line.[16] 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.[17] 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.[16] 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.[16][18] The project was finished on schedule and budget, despite extreme weather conditions during the winter of 2013/2014.[16]

In 2014, Baroness Kramer announced that the government had committed £50 million towards further improvements.[16] A scheme for further improvements estimated to cost around £120 million, was announced by Network Rail.[19] 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.[20][21] The expansion is an element of a five-year programme, costed at £1.11 billion, announced by Gatwick Airport in early 2018.[22]

Construction on the new concourse began in November 2020. The project is expected to be completed by 2023.[23]


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

As of May 2020, train services at Gatwick Airport are operated by Govia Thameslink Railway and Great Western Railway.

Platform 1 and 2: Services to London Victoria, Bedford via Redhill and Peterborough

Platform 3: Great Western Railway services to Reading

Platform 4: Services to London Victoria, London Bridge, Bedford and Cambridge

Platform 5 and 6: Terminating platforms for Gatwick Express services

Platform 7: Southbound services to Southampton Central, Bognor Regis, Portsmouth Harbour, Littlehampton, Brighton, Ore and Eastbourne

Until May 2020, Gatwick Airport was also served by non-stop services to London Victoria and Brighton, operated by Gatwick Express. However as of May 2020, these services have been temporarily suspended due to upgrade works at the station.[24]

Services at the station are as follows.


The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[25][24]

Southern services at Gatwick Airport are operated using Class 377 and Class 387 EMUs.


The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[26][27]

Thameslink services at Gatwick Airport are operated using Class 700 EMUs.

Great Western Railway[edit]

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[28]

Great Western Railway services at Gatwick Airport are operated using Class 165 DMUs.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Gatwick Express
Great Western RailwayTerminus


  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 f g "Estimates of station usage". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ "Busiest stations in Britain". Office of Rail & Road.
  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". Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  7. ^ Jarmyn, Luke (9 May 2018). "Gatwick Airport train station labelled 'embarrassment' after it's named second least popular 'major' UK station". Surrey Live.
  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". Railway Technology. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Our History". Gatwick Airport. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  12. ^ Catford, N. Disused Stations. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)[full citation needed]
  13. ^ "New Southern Region Station for Gatwick Airport". Railway Magazine. July 1958. pp. 489–491.
  14. ^ "Gatwick and Surrey stations to accept Oyster cards and contactless payments". 13 November 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Gatwick Airport unveils £53m station revamp". BBC News. 13 October 2010.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Railway Gazette (3 February 2014). "Extra platform opened at Gatwick Airport station". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  17. ^ Nigel Harris, ed. (5–18 March 2014). "New platform opens as part of Gatwick Airport improvement work". Rail (743): 20.
  18. ^ Network Rail (2011). "Gatwick Airport Station Redevelopment Project" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  19. ^ Pitcher, Greg (5 December 2014). "Gatwick rail station to get £120M upgrade". New Civil Engineer.
  20. ^ "Gatwick Airport station upgrade planned". Railway Gazette. 16 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Proposals have been submitted for Gatwick Airport station upgrade". International Airport Review. 11 April 2018.
  22. ^ "New five-year £1.11 billion programme announced by Gatwick Airport". Crawley Observer. 12 June 2018.
  23. ^ "Construction of new Gatwick Airport station concourse begins". Global Railway Review. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  24. ^ a b "Gatwick Airport Station Upgrade". Southern, May 2020.
  25. ^ "Timetable 28: Southampton and Portsmouth to Horsham and London" (PDF). Southern, December 2019.
  26. ^ "Timetable 02: Bedford, Luton and St Albans to London" (PDF). Thameslink, December 2019.
  27. ^ "Timetable 07: Peterborough and Cambridge to Gatwick Airport and Brighton" (PDF). Thameslink, December 2019.
  28. ^ "North Downs Line Timetable" (PDF). Great Western Railway, May 2019.

External links[edit]