Thursday 11 Jun 2020
Platform extensions mean more seats for railway passengers in East and West Sussex
Platform extensions have been installed at Cooksbridge, Lancing and Goring-By-Sea to support the £150m Gatwick Airport station upgrade, which will also improve accessibility and reduce overcrowding and delays for commuters and leisure travellers across the South East.
To enable the Gatwick project works and provide greater capacity for passengers, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the train company that operates Southern services, will increase the length of some trains operating along coastal routes to Eastbourne, Hastings, Worthing and Littlehampton, to eight carriages.
Network Rail has completed platform extension works at the following stations to ensure that these longer trains can be accommodated on the platforms instead of regularly blocking level crossings:
- Cooksbridge, platform 1 towards Lewes / London
- Lancing, platform 2 towards Littlehampton
- Goring-by-Sea, platform 1 – towards Hove / London
Paul Harwood, regional investment director for Network Rail, said:
“These works support the vital Gatwick Airport station upgrade and the platform extensions will ensure we continue to provide a railway, which meets the needs of the communities and economies we serve in years to come.
“We look forward to passengers reaping the benefits of more spacious, more frequent and longer trains which will provide more people with opportunities to travel.”
Chris Fowler, passenger services director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said:
“We’ve doubled the length of trains serving routes between our south coast stations and Gatwick Airport to maintain capacity for our passengers during the airport station’s major upgrade.
"This successful platform extension programme by Network Rail will mean that the longer trains won’t cause hold-ups for road users at level crossings. Later this summer, our passengers will be able to use the extra space on the platforms as well as on the trains, making social distancing that much easier for their whole journey.”
The work was completed by a small engineering team working under strict social distancing controls and the extended platforms will be available for public use when train services are stepped up.
For now, all eight carriage trains will continue to operate with the front four carriages next to platforms, and the rear four operating under Selective Door Operation with the exterior doors locked out of use.
Passengers to/from Cooksbridge, Lancing or Goring-by-Sea will need to continue travelling in the front four carriages as they do today. Later this summer, a trackside beacon will be fitted to enable the doors on all eight carriages to open when the full length of the platform is required during busy periods.
Notes to Editors
Safety is our priority so at a local level, we are prioritising inspections and patrols, and the work that comes up as a result of those patrols. Where we have to renew track because it is life-expired (too old to continue), we are doing that too. As kit gets older, it needs more work to keep it going, which will be harder to achieve with COVID-19.
The Government has classed Network Rail as a critical service so our engineers and suppliers will still be working and travelling to work. However, we are looking after our people - we’ve hired extra vans so people can be socially distant, and we’re asking teams on site to keep their distance too. We’re also following rules on social isolation and home working where possible.
There are jobs where it is not possible to keep two metres distance and we are working with our teams to see if we can either stop those jobs or come up with ways to do those jobs safely (including minimising time and proximity).
The most important thing is that we keep the railway running for critical workers and that when this crisis is over, it’s in good shape to play a massive role in rebuilding our economy.
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About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.