Council calls for return to a dedicated non-stop Gatwick Express service between the airport and Victoria (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Council calls for return to a dedicated non-stop Gatwick Express service between the airport and Victoria
3:28pm Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
Council chiefs in West Sussex are calling for a return to a dedicated non-stop Gatwick Express service between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria.
West Sussex County Council has made the call, responding to a Department of Transport consultation about the future combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise, which is due to commence in September 2013.
Asked which strategic priorities the new franchise should focus on, the county council highlighted the importance of a strong Gatwick Express rail service for the local economy.
The council has asked for a dedicated non-stop Gatwick Express service between the airport and London Victoria to be specified in the Invitation to Tender for the new franchise.
County council cabinet member for highways and transport, Pieter Montyn, said: “Resurrecting a dedicated non-stop Gatwick Express service which starts at the airport and ends at London Victoria is vital for both the airport and West Sussex.”
Coun Montyn said: “To give our economy the best chance to grow, we need better rail links for airport passengers and we need the problems of over-crowded Gatwick Express trains at peak times to be solved.”
The county council welcomed the significant investment being made in the rail network across the South-east, including the ongoing Thameslink Programme expected to be completed by 2018.
This will provide up to 24 trains an hour through London.
However, West Sussex said it wants greater capacity for services along the Sussex coast and other rail corridors which link to Gatwick.
The authority also requested a detailed dialogue with the rail industry about minimising disruption to passengers while the Thameslink programme is completed, in particular regarding the planned works at London Bridge, likely to affect services on the Brighton Main Line between 2015 and 2018.
Other strategic priorities the county council wish the new franchise to focus on include improvements in managing unplanned disruption, investing in rolling stock, developing innovative promotions and discounts to fight rising fares, and improving facilities and access at stations.
The combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise consultation will cover existing First Capital Connect services that operate to and from Brighton along the Brighton Main Line through London Bridge and to and from destinations north of London.
Existing Southern services that operate across Sussex will also be amalgamated into this new franchise in 2015.
The Invitation to Tender for the new franchise is expected to be issued in October.
The ongoing Thameslink Programme is expanding capacity and extending the network of services operating north-south through the “Thameslink core” of London (London Bridge, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras International).