On Monday 3rd February, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer officially opened Platform 7 and its associated facilities at Gatwick Airport station. The new platform and associated facilities, which have been built by VolkerFitzpatrick, form part of the £53m project designed to improve capacity and flexibility on the Brighton Main Line. The works will provide a better service for passengers going to the airport and help unblock a bottleneck on the Brighton main line.
VolkerFitzpatrick was commissioned by Network Rail to build Platform 7 and a passenger circulation hub, complete all track and signalling modifications, install new escalators and lifts on platforms 5 and 6, as well as resurface all platforms and a footbridge that crosses the Brighton main line.
The signalling commisioning and footbridge spans were replaced during a five day blockade of all lines over Christmas 2013. Despite the difficult weather conditions all works were delivered on time and to budget, marking the completion a crucial stage in improving the railway in Sussex.
Baroness Kramer said: "Gatwick makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and we must make sure facilities are upgraded for the benefit of passengers. That is why we have committed a further £50 million towards the complete redevelopment of the station. I am delighted to open this new platform and thank staff for their work during horrendous weather."
Speaking about the project, Chris Evans, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick's rail division, said: "VolkerFitzpatrick is delighted to have been involved in such an important project for Gatwick Airport. It was a fantastic effort by the team to overcome the challenges presented by the terrible weather conditions over Christmas and deliver a high quality end product."
Tim Robinson, Network Rail's route managing director for Sussex, said: "Managing growth is a challenge, but a good one to have. Gatwick Airport is significant not just as an important station for passengers, but an important part of the UK's infrastructure. We recognise that and this £53m investment is crucial to keep trains flowing and improve the experience of passengers from all stations in the region."
Gatwick Airport station is directly linked to 129 stations and a further 700 can be reached with just one change.