Construction started yesterday (Sunday), as the first train arrived at one of the platforms that has been rebuilt, Network Rail said.
The £150m project has seen many changes at the station already this year, including the closure of platform seven and now its return, while demolition work will soon begin on the footbridge and platforms five and six, 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 today (Monday).
He 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 added: “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 is 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.
She added: “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 five and six 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 five, six and seven and act as a new link for passengers changing trains at the station, said Network Rail. 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.