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Last Updated: Friday, 22 December 2006, 10:29 GMT
Gatwick Express consultation ends
Gatwick Express
The axing of the Gatwick Express was announced in February
A three-month consultation, in which people were asked how to make the best use of the congested London to Brighton railway line, is ending.

The Department for Transport has put forward four options designed to reduce overcrowding and improve journeys for the majority of passengers.

It follows the announcement in February that the non-stop Gatwick Express from the airport to London was to be axed.

But three of the options would allow a modified non-stop service to continue.

The tremendous pressures on this busy commuter route mean it is essential that something is done now
Sharon Hedges, Passenger Focus

The changes to timetables and rolling stock would allow commuters to use the trains as well as airport travellers.

Airlines and the Gatwick Airport operator, BAA, as well as business leaders in Crawley, have argued strongly in favour of keeping the Gatwick Express.

"Airline passengers need a dedicated non-stop service which is capable of taking large amounts of baggage," said BAA managing director Paul Griffiths.

"We recognise that commuters have got to have enough space and capacity but we believe the two can co-exist."

The other option would halt the non-stop service, replacing it with a semi-fast service calling at Redhill, East Croydon and Clapham Junction.

Gatwick Express signs
Passenger Focus wants to see the end of the Gatwick Express

Under this option there would be a further six trains per hour from Brighton to London Victoria, which would also call at Gatwick.

Rail consumer watchdog Passenger Focus said this option would benefit the majority of travellers.

"We do not like having to make trade-offs between the reasonable needs of different groups of passengers," said spokeswoman Sharon Hedges.

"However, the tremendous pressures on this busy commuter route mean it is essential that something is done now."

The Gatwick Express currently runs four trains per hour each way between Victoria and the airport, with the journey taking 30 minutes.

Research by the Stategic Rail Authority showed its trains are often only half-full while London to Brighton services are regularly 30% over capacity.


SEE ALSO
Brighton rail line views sought
29 Sep 06 |  England
Gatwick Express train to be axed
03 Feb 06 |  Southern Counties
Express rail link 'may be saved'
02 Jan 06 |  England
Commuters welcome rail proposals
10 Sep 04 |  Southern Counties

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