Gatwick Express plans come under fire from business community

LEADING business organisations have joined forces to protest against a new stop on the Gatwick Express train service.

Plans to introduce a stop at Clapham Junction on the non-stop Gatwick Express service in peak hours were published in the DfT-sponsored London and South East Rail Utilisation Strategy (RUS) in July.

The group of influential business leaders and local policy makers have co-signed letters to The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers, MP, the Secretary of State for Transport, Network Rail and The Office of Rail Regulation to bring their attention to the impact this decision may have on the local economy.

There has been growing concern that alterations to the Gatwick Express service are beginning to undermine the area’s attractiveness to industry and airline passengers.

“This would be the latest in a series of body blows alongside the introduction of inadequate rolling stock and new station gates that collectively are degrading the Gatwick Express,” says Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, which aims to defend the interests of the Gatwick business community.

“Gatwick Airport needs a dedicated 30 minute express train service to and from the heart of London.”

The critics also say that the recommendations, if implemented, will contravene a commitment that Southern Rail has through its franchise contract to maintain a dedicated, non-stop Gatwick Express service between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria.

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of Cadia, represents businesses with over 50,000 employees in the Gatwick Diamond and strongly agrees.

He says: “This recommendation, if implemented, will have a significant impact on our members businesses at a time when trading conditions are already tough. It seems that no-one is listening to the business community.”