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.