Gatwick Express train to be axed

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Dave A

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Gatwick Express train to be axed

The non-stop express rail link between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport is to be axed, the government has said.

The move is designed to reduce overcrowding on services on the route, the main London to Brighton line.

The Department for Transport said "fast and frequent" services would remain but would serve additional stations.

Figures show that during peak morning hours the service is, on average, just over half full. Axing it would provide an extra 480 seats for commuters.

In a statement, transport minister Derek Twigg said there would still be "a high-quality service" for airline travellers.

He said the move had taken into account concerns raised by UK airports operator BAA and airline companies.

Criticisms of the move came from BAA which said air passengers and commuters would have to "tussle" for space and the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK which said air passenger numbers were growing.

But the Rail Passengers Council said it was a "brave attempt" to solve overcrowding problems, while the Strategic Rail Authority, which has since handed over its remit to the DoT, said the plans could benefit everyone.

Mr Twigg said commercial negotiations with train operators about changes to the whole of the Brighton mainline service had begun.

He said one of the proposed improvements had already been introduced - a direct Brighton to Ashford service linking coastal towns with the Brighton main line and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The details are now being worked out in a re-timetabling exercise and we are working with operators who have put submissions in."

He said that National Express, the company that runs the current Gatwick Express service, was one of the firms working with the government on the plans.

He also said it was unclear whether the Gatwick Express brand would remain and said it was "one of the details to be worked out".

The move includes the withdrawal of direct Hastings-London trains via Eastbourne during the day, although direct trains will still run in the mornings and evenings.

Passengers were protesting outside Bexhill rail station on Friday with the Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle, Gregory Barker.

Bexhill Rail Action group chairman Brian Hord said "a key piece of regional infrastructure between the Hastings/Rother area and Gatwick, Croydon and London is to be lost".

He added: "They calculated, wrongly, that we would take this lying down."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/southern_counties/4676388.stm

Published: 2006/02/03 11:41:58 GMT
 
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O L Leigh

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Hi Gang!!

I notice that the only people using the word "axed" are the BBC.

Chances are we shall just see the existing GatEx service running in some different form with additional stops. The StanEx has been doing this since the December timetable change to create extra capacity between London and Harlow Town/Bishops Stortford without any impact on the overall journey time or any comment from users or the media.

one TN
 

Techniquest

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No comment? Well I always say that the airport expresses should be just that, express. None of this stopping at places en-route. Still, in the case of StanEx, it's quite some way to the airport, so I guess stopping at Harlow Town or Bishops Stortford is OK. Indeed, I daresay I'll be relying on that stop at Harlow or Stortford next time I do that route, so as to tick the stations off without sitting on a stopper all the way.

In terms of axing GatEx, this is not a sensible decision. Cutting the service to every 30 minutes might be more reasonable, with every 15 minutes at the times when it is really needed. But it does knock back the turn up and go idea for GatEx, which really is useful to know it goes xx15, xx30, xx45 and xx00. No need for 'What time does the GatEx go again?', as it's very easy to remember the times for it leaving Victoria.
 

O L Leigh

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FGWFan said:
But it does knock back the turn up and go idea for GatEx.
Ah, so that would explain it. Last time I was at Gatwick, I turned up and it had gone. Had to catch a Southern service instead.

*EDIT*

Actually, in all seriousness, adding extra stops doesn't change the "turn up and ride" ethos of the service. When things are running right there's always a StanEx train at STN and LST.

I happen to think that adding extra stops isn't such a bad idea. Chances are it won't affect the overall journey time and will provide extra capacity. After all, the purpose of a passenger railway is to move people. I agree that the "express" tag is under threat, but that shouldn't prevent these trains still being the fastest way to the Airport. After all, even with extra stops on the StanEx, it's still the fastest train south of Bishops Stortford.

GatEx also have another problem. Southern is targetting them hard on price for the airport traffic.

one TN
 

Z12XE

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one TN said:
Actually, in all seriousness, adding extra stops doesn't change the "turn up and ride" ethos of the service. When things are running right there's always a StanEx train at STN and LST.
Isnt the concern that some trains will continue beyond Gatwick to Brighton, meaning that the trains wont spend time at Gatwick station, meaning that passengers with luggage will have to rush on when the train does arrive
 

Coxster

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I have heard a few things.

1. Services will additionally call at East Croydon and onwards to Three Bridges.

2. Serivces will additionally call at East Croydon and Redhill, with Clapham being served by alternate trains.

3. Services to Brighton calling at Redhill, Gatwick, Three Bridges, Haywards Heath, Wivelsfield (for Lewes) and Brighton.

TN: If services did run beyond Gatwick Airport, they would wait in the station for about 10 minutes or so for passengers with heavy luggage apparently.
 

Guinness

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So finally the rumours come true. Personally I think there should be a reduction of trains from 15 minutes to 30 minutes with the additional path gained for another Brighton/Gatwick Slow service.

When this comes into effect what will happen to the Vaders then?
 

Julian G

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Chaz said:
So finally the rumours come true. Personally I think there should be a reduction of trains from 15 minutes to 30 minutes with the additional path gained for another Brighton/Gatwick Slow service.

When this comes into effect what will happen to the Vaders then?
cough,cough you have forgotten the 2 458s
 

Julian G

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one TN said:
Hi Gang!!

I notice that the only people using the word "axed" are the BBC.

Chances are we shall just see the existing GatEx service running in some different form with additional stops. The StanEx has been doing this since the December timetable change to create extra capacity between London and Harlow Town/Bishops Stortford without any impact on the overall journey time or any comment from users or the media.

one TN
interesting
doesn't it also stops at Stansted Mountfitchet?


I have noticed people boarding the Stansted Express for Liverpool Street at Tottenham Hale even it is set down only
(I've done this twice)
 

Coxster

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Julian G said:
I have noticed people boarding the Stansted Express for Liverpool Street at Tottenham Hale even it is set down only
(I've done this twice)
Yes but there is nothing physically stopping them. It's the same with the 90s at Stratford.
 

Z12XE

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Coxster said:
Yes but there is nothing physically stopping them. It's the same with the 90s at Stratford.
But if the guard was to check tickets they could require that the passenger who has boarded purchase a ticket from the previous stop which wasn't set down only.
 

yorkie

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156418 said:
But if the guard was to check tickets they could require that the passenger who has boarded purchase a ticket from the previous stop which wasn't set down only.
True (if boards show 'Do not use this train' or something), but not so at Stratford where there is a monitor that shows arrivals/departures, and shows the Norwich to Liverpool St trains. This monitor clearly does show the train as being for Liverpool St ;)

On the other hand, there is nothing at Liverpool St to say the trains call at Stratford so yes, that would not be allowed strictly speaking. Of course you would get away with it ;)
 

yorkie

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Royalscot said:
Interesting that passengers want it scrapped, but it'll probably be retained after all due to pressure from the airlines, and no doubt the Government will want to keep that premium.

Let's face it, passengers are not the priority here, and the government would much rather have half empty trains with people paying stupid amounts of money getting priority over packed trains filled with 'unimportant' normal people paying sensible amounts of money :( (or am I being cynical? time will tell...)
 

O L Leigh

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yorkie said:
Let's face it, passengers are not the priority here, and the government would much rather have half empty trains with people paying stupid amounts of money getting priority over packed trains filled with 'unimportant' normal people paying sensible amounts of money :( (or am I being cynical? time will tell...)
Hi Yorkie,

Not wishing to be confrontational, but that's a very odd statement. If that were true, surely the GatEx service would be left to run as it is and no-one would be interested in capacity issues along the Brighton mainline.

The point about the difference in fares is valid and stems from GatEx and Southern being seperate TOC's. Also, Southern is smart enough to realise that there's a lot of money to be made from the Airport traffic and are targetting GatEx heavily on price. This isn't a problem with StanEx, as both it and the other services operating around it are run by the same company. This means that there is no difference in fares (although I believe it may be more expensive to buy a ticket on the train than from the ticket office).

one TN
 

ChrisCooper

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Sounds convienient doesn't it:
Government publishes report that says Gatwick Express to be axed.
Massive outcry from passengers, staff, owners and users of Gatwick Airport.
Government says it "accidently" published the wrong report.
The usual tactic seems to be to leak reports to gauge public opinion and soften the blow of the final outcome (which won't be anything like as bad as suggested in the leak). This could just be another version of that.
 

yorkie

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one TN said:
Not wishing to be confrontational, but that's a very odd statement. If that were true, surely the GatEx service would be left to run as it is and no-one would be interested in capacity issues along the Brighton mainline.
Not really a statement, more of a pessimistic view of what I fear might happen. ;)

Will GatEx be left as it is? Difficult to say. I hope not, as the more I think about it, the more I know it doesn't make sense, and it is a terrible waste of capacity.

People (mostly passengers) are interested in solving the problem, but I am not sure the Government will approve the end of Gatwick Express.

Many of the arguments are flawed, and this idea of all airport passengers getting on GatEx with their big bags, and none of them getting on Thameslink/Southern/SET is daft, as many passengers get to the airport on the other TOCs because they're cheaper and/or because they go nearer to their home/destination. I am wondering if excuses are being made up to stop it happening...
 

Julian G

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yorkie said:
True (if boards show 'Do not use this train' or something), but not so at Stratford where there is a monitor that shows arrivals/departures, and shows the Norwich to Liverpool St trains. This monitor clearly does show the train as being for Liverpool St ;)

On the other hand, there is nothing at Liverpool St to say the trains call at Stratford so yes, that would not be allowed strictly speaking. Of course you would get away with it ;)
i've noticed on the Stansted Express Website, they show the prices between London Liverpool Street-Tottenham Hale
the boards at Tottenham Hale (southbound) doesn't mention Stansted Express (having been on a Refurbished OWA* 317-boy it's quite good :D )
it does gets confusing
Example-
The boards display
15:13 OWA to Liverpool Street only
but the Stansted Express arrives 15:02** at Tottenham Hale
So people do get confused


-------
*OWA-One West Anglia
** I have the Stansted Express Timetable (the orange one with big ben on it)
 

O L Leigh

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Julian G said:
The boards display
15:13 OWA to Liverpool Street only
but the Stansted Express arrives 15:02** at Tottenham Hale
So people do get confused
The StanEx stops at Tottenham Hale southbound to set-down only. Therefore, it is not advertised on the platforms at Tottenham Hale.

one TN
 

Julian G

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one TN said:
The StanEx stops at Tottenham Hale southbound to set-down only. Therefore, it is not advertised on the platforms at Tottenham Hale.

one TN
ah, now i know why i keep getting confused at Tottenham
it's the xx:59/00 that departs from Tottenham Hale, i should had waited 3 mins more for SX
so that wasn't the Stansted Express i was on , it was a typical OWA train :|
 

yorkie

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Julian G said:
ah, now i know why i keep getting confused at Tottenham
it's the xx:59/00 that departs from Tottenham Hale, i should had waited 3 mins more for SX
so that wasn't the Stansted Express i was on , it was a typical OWA train :|
I can understand why you'd want to get some 90 haulage on a set-down train at Stratford, but I can't see the big deal about getting a 317 that's like any other 317 from Tottenham Hale to Liverpool St just for the fancy 'Express' title.

It's just the same as any other 317 and the fact you don't know whether it's a Stansted Express or not just proves this ;)

But I personally don't consider the Stansted Express to be a true "Express" service. If that was GNER's definition of express, I would be very disappointed ;)
 

Julian G

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yorkie said:
I can understand why you'd want to get some 90 haulage on a set-down train at Stratford, but I can't see the big deal about getting a 317 that's like any other 317 from Tottenham Hale to Liverpool St just for the fancy 'Express' title.

It's just the same as any other 317 and the fact you don't know whether it's a Stansted Express or not just proves this ;)

But I personally don't consider the Stansted Express to be a true "Express" service. If that was GNER's definition of express, I would be very disappointed ;)
it used to be a proper express before, with only Tottenham Hale on it stop
now it stops at Stansted Mountfitchet, Bishops Stortford,Harlow Town, Chesnut and Tottenham
 

Southern

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yorkie said:
I can understand why you'd want to get some 90 haulage on a set-down train at Stratford, but I can't see the big deal about getting a 317 that's like any other 317 from Tottenham Hale to Liverpool St just for the fancy 'Express' title.

It's just the same as any other 317 and the fact you don't know whether it's a Stansted Express or not just proves this ;)

But I personally don't consider the Stansted Express to be a true "Express" service. If that was GNER's definition of express, I would be very disappointed ;)
The Interior and Exterior of the Stanstead Units prove that their not just any old 317. See here for more info: http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search/i...pg&p=Class+317/6&type=jpeg&no=1&tt=1&ei=UTF-8

Journey Time is between 44-46 mins off peak, with pick up & set downs at Tottenham Hale and a stop at Harlow Town, so only 14-16 mins longer than GEX(mon-sat) and 9-11 mins longer on Sunday.
 

O L Leigh

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Julian G said:
it used to be a proper express before, with only Tottenham Hale on it stop
now it stops at Stansted Mountfitchet, Bishops Stortford,Harlow Town, Chesnut and Tottenham
You'd be very unlucky to catch one that stops that often. Normally they stop at Tottenham Hale and either Harlow Town or Bishops Stortford. Some do stop additionally, but not as a matter of course.

one TN
 

Julian G

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one TN said:
You'd be very unlucky to catch one that stops that often. Normally they stop at Tottenham Hale and either Harlow Town or Bishops Stortford. Some do stop additionally, but not as a matter of course.

one TN
there is only one proper train of the day :|
04:30 from LST to Stansted Airport (non-stop )

Yorkie said:
I can understand why you'd want to get some 90 haulage on a set-down train at Stratford, but I can't see the big deal about getting a 317 that's like any other 317 from Tottenham Hale to Liverpool St just for the fancy 'Express' title.
and as Southern said, it's not like any 317 and it's not just a fancy express title,it's a special 317 with clusters :D , "I think I will have to drag you to Tottenham Hale on a declassified Hertford East train ;) from LST :D , and then wait for the Stansted Express and then I will ask for you opinion "
 

O L Leigh

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Hi Gang!!

We currently have three levels of Cl317 trim.

At the top, we have the StanEx units with air-con, new seats, carpets throughout, power operated doors between vehicles, a disabled loo and galleys for the trolley dollies. The First Class is particularly nice with lovely big reclining seats. Below that we have the ex-WAGN Cl317/2 refurbs with new seats, carpets throughout and a generally smarter appearance. The first class is nicer, although the sliding doors are an obstacle and the new bulkheads in there can make the driver's life hell if they have to isolate an air system on that vehicle. At the bottom of the pile are the ancient Cl317/1's, which are either in the same state that NSE left them in or have been refurbed by Wabtec. Either way, they have the same 3+2 seat frames they left the BREL factory with way back in 1982 and are generally no better now than they were then.

Admittedly, these differences in trim apply only to the passenger compartments. There is no difference in comfort standards in the driver's cab, so I personally don't care which type it is as it makes not one iota of difference to me.

The StanEx services are generally 2xCl317 with one StanEx unit and one Cl317/2. There are rumours that some of the Cl317/1's are going to go for the same refurb that the existing StanEx units had, but with all standard class seating (numbered as 3178XX). Once done, these will be replace the Cl317/2's in the StanEx formations. Otherwise, Cl317/1's and Cl317/2's are interchangeable on most Cl317 diagrams.

So it's not all boring over on the WA after all... ;)

one TN
 

AlexS

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Arrr - I think it's slightly unfair that One got the 317/2s and WAGN got left with the Paupers - weren't the 317/2s upgraded by WAGN to the same standard as the 365s for interoperability on the Kings Cross routes?
 
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