It is an irony that the station at the heart of the May 2020 timetable changes, Gatwick Airport, looks sure to be one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. In early April passenger numbers had fallen off the edge of a cliff everywhere, but with the finger pointing at international air travel as one of the key factors in the spread of the virus, Gatwick Airport can expect an especially hard slog back to former traffic levels once the crisis abates.
Nevertheless, in a reasonable response to what were rising traffic levels, the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the airport authorities co-operated on a £150 million plan to expand passenger facilities in the notoriously cramped station. As we explained in a feature in the February issue (p68), the work takes two platform faces out of service for a period of two years from this May, necessitating adjustment of the timetable to accommodate this. The platform occupations are due to finish in May 2022 but work on the concourse will take another year.