Gatwick Express to take off again

Non-stop Gatwick Express services will return from 3 April, as air travel begins to recover in the wake of the Covid lockdowns. Govia Thameslink Railway withdrew its branded airport services on 30 March 2020, a week or so after the first lockdown had started. It is hoped that the removal of the last travel restrictions on 18 March will boost demand still further.

Gatwick Express general manager Stephen MacCallaugh said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to bring back our non-stop Gatwick Express service from Sunday 3 April as we look forward to a busier summer season including for international travel.’

Possible reprieve for threatened railway structures

The Department for Transport has published a report identifying Historical Railways Estate structures which are potentially suitable for cycling and walking, including bridges, tunnels and embankments. The active travel charity Sustrans produced the report, which concludes that 26 structures are likely to be useful for use as part of the National Cycle Network or local cycling and walking routes, 24 others ‘might be useful’ for local cycling and walking routes but are not considered in current plans, while a further 25 ‘are unlikely to be useful’, and could be demolished or infilled to reduce maintenance costs.

The report only considered the structures as useful for ‘active travel’, but did not take into account the possibilities of using them for railways in the future.

The report is only a pilot study, but Commons transport committee chair Huw Merriman said: ‘This is a welcome reprieve for more than 50 of our historic railway structures. These structures work well with local cycling and walking plans – a valuable contribution to active travel. The mystery is why these historical structures were sentenced to infilling or demolition in the first place – we should think about preservation before destruction.’