London Gatwick Airport’s Thameslink franchise has been secured by Govia Thameslink, a joint venture between UK-based transport company Go-Ahead Group and Keolis of France.
Under the deal, Govia plans to modernise rail services to Gatwick Airport with improved trains, better stations and more reliable services.
The services will connect more people from the centre of London to key regional centres north of the capital.
Upgrades to Gatwick’s current all-day rail services include the introduction of new, high-quality trains on the dedicated non-stop Gatwick Express service to London Victoria train station by 2016.
Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: "This announcement means that significantly more passengers will be able to access the airport from London and across the UK by train.
"The combined transformational improvements planned on rail services running through Gatwick will see capacity doubled by 2018, and nearly tripled by 2035.
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"This will be achieved by new, longer trains and adds yet more weight to the obvious case for building a new runway at Gatwick.
"I look forward to working closely with Govia to create a unique air-rail partnership, which will deliver a hugely improved service and experience for our passengers as well as the local communities around Gatwick."
The completion of the contract is expected to make Gatwick more accessible to people outside of London.
New direct services will connect the Gatwick Airport to Cambridge and Peterborough, connecting the airport directly to 175 mainline stations and 1,000 served with a single change.
Gatwick Airport commented that passengers travelling to the airport will also notice a significantly improved quality of service with more staff, station enhancements and more punctual trains.
In 2013, the UK Government announced plans to contribute £50m for the construction of a new station at the airport.
Gatwick Airport plans to reveal the transport strategy that underpins its bid to build a second runway on 2 June 2014.
Image: Farrell’s London – image of transport interchange with a second runway. Photo: courtesy of Gatwick Airport.