Gatwick rail transformation continues as airport joins Oyster and Contactless network


  • Oyster and contactless payments a game-changer for passengers 
  • Another milestone in the complete transformation of Gatwick’s rail services
  • New and better trains plus a doubling of capacity on track to be delivered


The launch of pay as you go Oyster and Contactless payments for Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services at London Gatwick Airport today marks yet another important milestone in the ongoing transformation of Gatwick’s rail services.


The introduction of Oyster and Contactless payments means a single ticketless system links Gatwick with the whole of Greater London so passengers can benefit from seamless connections to and throughout the capital.


This comes on top of the significant increase in rail capacity being delivered through Gatwick as a result of committed and planned projects to improve resilience and the quality of rail services to and from the airport. It also builds on the new partnership agreement between Gatwick and the train operator GTR, aimed at attracting more rail passengers, increasing rail mode share and enhancing passenger experience.


These improvements mean Gatwick airport will be railway-ready for a second runway by 2020, five years before a second runway at Gatwick could be open, and will result in:


  • New Gatwick Express trains this year and new Thameslink trains by 2018
  • A train to central London every 2.5 minutes by 2025
  • Connections to Crossrail at Farringdon in 2019
  • New twice hourly direct connections to Peterborough and Cambridge from 2018
  • Quicker journey times to the West End and City, and
  • 15 million people brought within 60 minutes of Gatwick
  • A major upgrade to Gatwick’s train station*


Network Rail has confirmed that with already committed and planned improvements there will be enough rail capacity for airport passengers - even with a second runway - because Gatwick will continue to contribute only a small percentage of passengers during peak hours.


Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said:


This technology is a game-changer for passengers making journeys to and from Gatwick easier and ticketing considerably faster.


“And this is only the start, as Gatwick’s rail services are to be completely transformed over the next five years with new trains, a doubling of capacity, and a brand new Gatwick station.


“Independent assessment has shown that Gatwick will be railway-ready for a second runway by 2020 and Gatwick’s second runway plan can be built within 10 years of a Government decision.


“This means that, for the first time in decades, the UK has the opportunity to finally reap the benefits of airport expansion. Let’s get on and build it.”


*Gatwick Airport train station is to receive a major upgrade with a £120.5 million redesign transforming the station and passenger experience. Construction work is scheduled to start in 2017 and be completed by 2020. Passengers will experience a seamless transition between the airport and the new station. Improvements and new features include:


  • A doubling in size of the concourse area to improve the passenger experience and enhance facilities
  • More escalators and lifts to improve access to all platforms, and
  • Intuitive passenger flow and clear, concise information.


The improvements will allow the rail station to comfortably manage the projected growth in rail passengers, including meeting Gatwick’s target of 50% of air passengers travelling to and from the airport by rail by 2040.   

Notes for editors

More information about the improvements to rail services to Gatwick is available here.

Images depicting Gatwick’s rail station upgrade are also available here.

About London Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 45 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the UK contributing £5.3 billion to national GDP and generating 85,000 jobs nationally, with around 24,000 on the wider airport campus alone. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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