A single-route franchise let for 15 years, operating a dedicated fast service from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport and charging premium fares. It had been the shortest route (43km) within British Rail’s InterCity division, and after privatisation was the only franchise to pay premiums from the outset. The contract length depended on an obligation to replace the existing locomotive-hauled fleet, which was achieved. However, the Strategic Rail Authority's Route Utilisation Studies for the Brighton Main Line (2004 and 2006) proposed that some Gatwick Express trains should be extended to Brighton. On 4 April 2007 the Department for Transport announced that Gatwick Express was to be merged with Southern from May 2008 (the actual date was June), with the Brighton extension introduced in peak hours.
28 April 1996
22 June 2008
National Express Group plc
Gatwick Express Ltd
London Victoria–Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Express Railway Company Limited (British Railways Board)
was replaced by