UPDATED: Gatwick Express may no longer stop at Haywards Heath

Commuters may no longer be able to pick up the Gatwick Express service from Haywards Heath railway station. Picture by Derek Martin.
Commuters may no longer be able to pick up the Gatwick Express service from Haywards Heath railway station. Picture by Derek Martin.

A Mid-Sussex Times reader is angry after discovering the Gatwick Express may no longer stop at Haywards Heath.

The commuter, who travels from Haywards Heath to London Victoria, was shocked and felt that rail users had not been made aware of proposed changes.

He said: “I find this incredible as there must be thousands of people that use this service on a daily basis from Haywards Heath.

“A massive new multi-story car park has just been built and has four platforms, but Hassocks only has two platforms and room for about 20 to 30 cars – the whole thing makes no sense at all.

“This kind of underhand tactic just amplifies the public perception of this company which is only interested in profits and not servicing its customers.”

A timetable consultation was launched by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) on September 15 and closes on December 8.

Gatwick Express peak trains currently serve Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Hassocks and Preston Park.

The rail passenger service, which calls itself the ‘dedicated airport link between the capital and coast’ confirmed in the report that the Brighton Main Line timetable is being ‘redesigned’ and as a result the ‘timings of the Gatwick Express trains will change’, however the ‘frequency will remain the same’.

A Southern report sets out the proposed changes to the railway’s timetable which will be operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) in 2018, following completion of the Thameslink Programme.

It states that from 2018, it is ‘proposed Haywards Heath and Preston Park would no longer be served by Gatwick Express trains with stops transferred to other Southern services to maintain the overall quantum of trains at these stations’.

The report also states that journey times between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport will be typically 30 minutes or less.

A spokesperson from Southern Rail confirmed the consultation is taking place on major timetable changes that would take effect from 2018 and will firstly look at frequency and calling patterns to seek opinions from passengers and stakeholders.

Next year an all day timetable for weekdays and weekends will be provided for further comment.

The spokesperson added: “No firm decisions have been made about the exact peak stopping patterns at Haywards Heath as the consultation runs until December when all feedback will be collated and reviewed.

“We are aware of some initial feedback from some commuters at Haywards Heath who do not agree with certain aspects of our initial proposals.

“The overall quantum of trains would not be altered under these proposals and some journey times are improved and the intention of the proposed change is to improve the flow of trains on the Brighton Main Line and provide adequate capacity on our trains which will ultimately improve performance.

“The timetable that will be introduced from May 2018 will be the biggest change in a generation and will provide a raft of other service improvements for Haywards Heath including more direct train services to London Bridge and new direct trains to Cambridge.

“We encourage others to provide feedback to us to shape this future timetable.”

To access the consultation report visit: http://www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/timetable-consultation/.

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