Govia Thameslink (GTR) has told Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas in a formal statement that they will be reintroducing Gatwick Express services to Preston Park in May 2019.
There will be five morning peak trains and four in the evening peak – and Caroline is continuing to lobby GTR and Network Rail for some of these services to be trialled sooner than May.
Long-suffering Preston Park commuters have been campaigning tirelessly with the Green Party MP to get services restored after rail operators slashed them by 30 per cent – and ended Gatwick Express trains from the station entirely – following the May 2018 timetable disaster.
Caroline Lucas MP said: “This announcement represents the culmination of a huge amount of tireless work by the Preston Park Train Campaign. I would like to give particular credit to Liz Mattos and her core team.
“I am pleased that GTR and Network Rail have genuinely engaged and have accepted the case we have repeatedly made to them over the last six months.
“Despite the good news for next May, I am very aware that passengers continue to live with the terrible impacts of having services they rely on slashed, and many won’t be able to bear another six months of travel chaos.
“This year’s timetable changes have already forced people out of jobs and robbed them of precious time with their families. I will keep pushing as hard as I can for some of the promised services to be trialled before May so people can get back to their lives.”
Liz Mattos of the Preston Park Train Campaign said: "I'd like to thank Caroline, along with members of the Preston Park Train Campaign, for their support and assistance in getting the Department for Transport, GTR and Network Rail to recognise the awful consequences of their timetable changes and take steps to reinstate the services we need.
"We still have a way to go to get things back to the standard commuters are paying for - but I'm pleased there has finally been some progress."
The formal GTR statement reads as follows: “We have listened to the Preston Park campaign and met with Caroline Lucas a number of times to present and discuss possible solutions which address the concerns raised in regards to services for Preston Park station.
“With this in mind, we have worked with Network Rail so that five morning peak and four evening peak Gatwick Express trains to and from London Victoria will stop at Preston Park. This has been agreed for introduction with our Summer timetable in May 2019.
“We know that this has been an extremely difficult time for some Preston Park commuters and we are sorry for this. We also know that you would prefer us to begin running the extra trains now but in order to do this we would need to make over a hundred extra changes relating to staff, changing platforms, changes to other train times, etc. and this is not possible immediately.”