Getting by rail to Gatwick

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Gatwick Express

Gatwick Express

Today a new timetable was announced by the train company that operates the Gatwick Express and Southern. It starts from next Monday July 11th  and will last indefinitely.

For those traveling to Gatwick from Reading, Wokingham, Guildford and Redhill using the GWR service there are no changes and those trains will run normally.

Despite being owned by the same company – Govia Thameslink – the Thameslink service which links the northern home counties through London Blackfriars or London Bridge to Gatwick is running normally and takes between thirty minutes to fifty depending on the service.

For those using the Gatwick Express Service to and from London Victoria, there had been a service every 15 minutes during the bulk of the day. Now from 07.30 until 09.14 that service every 15 minutes remains. After that the service varies between every 15 minutes and every half hour. You will need to consult the timetable and you can access that here or by going to

Southern runs a slightly slower service to parts of Sussex which stops at Gatwick and there are many more services. They have up to five services an hour but the trains can take up to 50 minutes whereas the Gatwick Express takes about thirty.

A Southern service. It says First Class on the carriage. A First Class service it isn't

A Southern service. It has First Class. A First Class service it isn’t

The advice is not only to check the times in advance but also to allow plenty of time to get to and from the airport if you are using the Gatwick Express or Southern services. For months, services have been cancelled because of the dispute between the company and the rail unions. This timetable is supposed to provide a more reliable service. It may not.

That a company should be allowed to abrogate its franchise agreement by running a less than agreed service should be unacceptable and local MP’s and regular users have been vociferous in their condemnation. I suggested that other rail companies could operate an open access system as one way to resolve this.

By agreeing to this sub-standard service, the Department for Transport, Network Rail or whichever body has been involved has done no favours for travellers, commuters and holidaymakers even if compensation is provided. There are stories of people being fired by their employees for persistent lateness. Does compensation run to a lost job?

Nobody wants compensation really. They want the trains to run on time and they want a train operator who can deliver that.


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