Rail franchises operators & contracts

01.02.19

‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ as Gatwick Express trains trial due to start

MP Caroline Lucas has revealed that a trial for the Gatwick Express rail link will launch this month following months of reduced services, disruption and the May timetable chaos.

Protest groups have been campaigning for the past few months for Govia Thameslink (GTR) to trial Gatwick Express trains at Preston Park after it was originally due to happen last May before the “disastrous” timetable changes.

Now, GTR has told Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas that the trial will begin before the end of this month, likely 25 February, with two Gatwick Express trains stopping at Preston Park during key peak hours, 7.14am and 5.44pm.

Lucas stated: “Almost nine months after people’s lives were turned upside down by last year’s timetable disaster, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.

“I am hopeful that some passengers will be able to rely on these services in just a few weeks’ time – but there can be no consolation for those who’ve been forced out of jobs, been unable to pick up their children, and been stranded miles from home throughout this chaos.

“I’ll be in close contact with the Preston Park Train Campaign and GTR about how these trials are going, and will keep campaigning until passengers receive the services they pay for.”

GTR chief executive Patrick Verwer said in a statement: “We are pleased to have been able to find a solution for passengers using Preston Park.

“We always try to engage with communities and politicians to try to find the best outcome for passengers and their journey options whenever possible.”

The campaigners and Lucas have been pushing rail bosses for trials to be introduced early after being “forced to endure travel chaos” since May 2018.

Image credit - krblokhin

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