Gatwick Diamond rail improvements planned

by Toby Fox Mon 24 June 2019, 12:00 pm

Network Rail is confident that substantial capital investments will be coming forward in the Gatwick area, according to director of route business, development and sponsorship Paul Harwood.

“I usually describe myself as investment director,” Harwood said speaking last Thursday (June 20) at the 10th annual Gatwick Diamond Economic Summit at the Arora Hotel, in Crawley. The summit gathered together developers, investors, business leaders and local authorities to discuss growth opportunities in the region.

A two-year project to dramatically improve Gatwick Airport station should begin later this year. “It should be transformational,” Harwood said, to address the needs of local commuters as well as airport passengers.

A plan to rebuild East Croydon station and untangle the railway “crossroads” north of that station is also planned, to improve the Brighton mainline service which Harwood described as “pretty much the busiest in the country.” He added: “It will be a multi-year delivery and we’ve got 2030 as the end date, but it is a phased programme so it can bring real benefits sooner.”

Harwood was also bullish about the Crawley Station Gateway project, to demolish Overline House and replace it with new station facilities and 308 apartments. Network Rail is working with developer Arora on the scheme and Harwood said joint investment projects would increasingly be a feature of Network Rail’s plans.

“Government money is scarce,” he said. “This is the sort of thing we need to do more of. The railway isn’t the easiest organisation to do business with, and we’re trying to break down those barriers.”

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