Humble Beginnings of Gatwick Express: A History


Regarding the history of Gatwick Express, one can look back in time at the initial operations of Gatwick Airport in 1958. Initially, it was common that trains from London going to Brighton stopped at a station at Gatwick Airport, which always followed the timetable set at that time. This was due to this and the massive extension of rail services that ran between Bongor Riges to Three Bridges, which resulted in the development of Gatwick Express. As a result, while these trains would stop at Gatwick Airport before eventually freeing up at Victoria Station in London, as time passed and the multiplication of passenger and baggage loads, British Rail pledged to double the original threshold of systems in the seventies. However, it was only later that they realized that with the growing need for much faster rail transport, such frequent delays in rail transport are simply unacceptable; something had to be changed!

As a solution to the rail network problem at Gatwick, British Rail, British Coledonian Airways and the British Airports Authority formed a group whose main interest is the modernization of the entire Gatwick station so that it can manage the impact of the new "high speed trains. The main goal common to this group was to provide a fast train between London and Gatwick airports. This was crucial because it would make rail services much more efficient in terms of time, cost-effectiveness and also much more beneficial for passengers. In summary, until 1984, it was officially announced that the first uninterrupted high-speed train service operated by Gatwick Express was set up between Gatwick Airport and Victoria Station in London. It was amazing when it was announced that the entire journey took only 30 minutes and the delay time was unbelievably short – a maximum of 5 minutes. While the number was reported to be closer to 35-40 minutes at peak times, this drastic change in rail quality and speed has led to huge success for Gatwick Express. Soon people began to understand that the Gatwick was now a much more practical method of transport.

Since Gatwick Express was formerly a branch of the British Railways, it was renovated as a complete individual train service. When it was decided that the service could be transferred to a private company, the service was finally transferred to the Nation Express group, and since April 1996 has been running its own private service.

Today, the Gatwick Express operates as a non-stop express train from London Gatwick Station to Victoria Station serving passengers arriving at or from the North Terminal, the daily available means of transport in the heart of the city.