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Gatwick Express Flopping

Old Sep 22nd, 2005, 11:44 AM
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Gatwick Express Flopping

The Gatwick Express rail franchise, running express trains between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport has reported dismal returns far below passenger level expectations of several years ago. Originally GE expected to carry 5 million passengers by 1999 but still has not reached that level. The line lost 3.4 million pounds in 2003. Several factors were thought to be responsible for the loss:
The closure of check-in facilities at Victoria Station, the Sep 11 terrorist attacts that depressed passenger numbers, the transfer of more flights from Gatwick to Heathrow. And, though the franchise did not mention it, competition provided by other train franchises from Victoria that are just as fast and cheaper - if not quite as luxurious. Note that Gatwick Express often offers a 2 for 1 ticket scheme and advertises this in magazines like TimeOut London - you only need reference the coupon to qualify and you'll see this offer other places as well. Gatwick Express trains take but 25 minutes to the airport, running non-stop about 2-3 times an hour. railpasses, including the LondonPlus pass is valid on this line.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2005, 02:34 PM
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The Gatwick Expresses are scheduled to take 30 minutes from Victoria to the airport and run every 15 mins. Southern trains from Victoria average 35 minutes and are just as frequent.
Thameslink trains from Kings Cross, Blackfriars and London Bridge provide a similar service.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2005, 05:07 PM
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I've used Gatwick Express several times, but this time the Thameslink "Kid for a Quid" option won out. The trains aren't quite as nice, but perfectly satisfactory. It's hard to get access to those Time Out coupons for the GE until you're actually in the UK (possibly they are available online if you pay for the magazine).
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Old Sep 22nd, 2005, 05:20 PM
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You got that right, WillTravel. I saw before a post here about the Time Out coupon and went to their website only to find I had to subscribe (and pay) to get those coupons.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2005, 05:55 PM
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Thanks for correction about coupon - I had seen one a few years ago in Time Out in Borders books and it said you only had to reference the ad - this has obviously has changed and i'll revise my info.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 03:25 AM
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I haven't taken it for a few years now; but the last time I did, I thought the trains were much less nice than they were to start with - quite depressing, in fact. At first they were really nice : when I was commuting from London to Horsham & back, I used to switch from the regular train to the GE at Gatwick & treat myself to a g&t on Friday afternoons
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 03:39 AM
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This past August we overnighted at a hotel near Gatwick. We took a train (from Crawley) into London. On the way the GE whizzed by us and I suspect didn't stop at all the stations we stopped at between the airport and Victoria.

So how can they say that Southern Trains are almost as fast?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 05:58 AM
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We used the TimeOut coupons for both LHR and GTW in early September, but they timed out on the 7th. The current issues no longer carry them.

http://www.timeout.com/offers/summerpromotion/
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Southern run most of the trains from Victoria on the line through Gatwick. There are slow ones and fast ones. Every fifteen minutes between Gatwick and Victoria they have a train that takes between 32 and 38 minutes, with an average journey time of 35 minuties, five minutes more than the Gatwick Express. If you miss a Gatwick Express, it will always be quicker to get the next Southern train, rather than wait 15 minutes for the next "Express".
The Southern trains are particularly useful if you want to go somewhere other than Victoria because they stop at East Croydon and Clapham Junction, so have connections to many more places.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Just took the Southern from LGW to Clapham Junction (where I transferred), nice new carriage, can't say a bad thing about it, and the price was right.

WK
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