Following our SPOTLIGHT: London and South East event, Minding the Gap Between Risk and Safety, Tangent spoke to Grace Roche, operations development manager at Govia Thameslink Rail (GTR) to learn more.
In the event, Grace spoke about the platform extensions at Cooksbridge, Lancing and Goring-By-Sea which supported the £150 million Gatwick Airport station upgrade.
This project was necessary for the new eight-car trains that would pass through the stations. As the trains are longer, without the extended platforms, would mean longer waiting times at level crossings.
Longer waiting times at level crossings could mean an “increase in the risk of pedestrian misuse or road vehicle misuse” causing a “fatality or major incident” Grace told Tangent.
The new eight-car trains mean passengers now have more space and Grace said this “would encourage people to use our trains more.”
Futureproofing following Coronavirus
These new trains “are built to be cleaner” Grace explained. As “there are a lot of people who are trying to move to a sustainable and greener way of living” rail is the best way to help people transition to this cleaner way of living Grace added.
There are a lot of people who are trying to move to a sustainable and greener way of living
Despite the challenges of the pandemic Grace told Tangent, “Having low passenger numbers helped [them] adapt as well as we could.
Although there was initial “concern over whether this project would go ahead”, GTR had all the “preparation in place” to make the project a success she said.
In order to prepare for passengers returning to rail following the pandemic, GTR “wanted to make sure [the stations] was futureproofed and ready for them for when they did come back.”
Network Rail, and their contractors, “adapted incredibly well” and GTR is now able to give passengers “more room on platforms” to allow for trains where they won’t struggle to find a seat.
Grace rounded up saying this project between GTR and Network Rail “was a really excellent collaboration of across industry working” which has improved the quality of service between these stations and Gatwick Airport.