The Anonymous Widower

Dalston To Gatwick And Back For £6.15

This could be one of the best travel bargains for those like me, who have the privilege of a Freedom Pass.

I can use my pass, as far as East Croydon or West Croydon stations, but I must buy a ticket or use contactless to get to Gatwick Airport.

So I use the following route.

  1. London Overground to West Croydon station using my Freedom Pass.
  2. London Tramlink to East Croydon station using my Freedom Pass.
  3. Thameslink or Southern to Gatwick using a contactless credit card.

I paid £3.10 for the last leg.

These pictures show my journey to Gatwick.

Note that as my flight on Friday was early, I was staying the the Premier Inn, where I watched the World Cup 2018, before taking an early bath and an early bed.

The only problem was finding how to get from the shuttle to the Premier Inn at the Gatwick North Terminal.

Coming back, was just a two-legged journey.

  1. Thameslink to London Bridge station using the ticket I bought on the way out and my Freedom Pass.
  2. A 141 bus to just outside my house from the forecourt of London Bridge to just outside my house using my Freedom Pass.

I paid £3.05 for the ticket between Gatwick and East Croydon.

The Journey Could Be Improved

I do this journey a lot of times, especially as it is an easy way to the South Coast.

  • Getting to Victoria will continue to be difficult, until there is a comprehensive rebuild of Highbury and Islington station.
  • I could go to St. Pancras and get Thameslink, but there are time restrictions on using a Freedom Pass early in the morning.
  • I could get a 141 bus to London Bridge, but going South seems a lot longer than coming North due to traffic, road works and bus frequency.

So what would I do to improve things?

The Overground Should Go To East Croydon Not West Croydon Station

Often, when I do the journey to West Croydon, the train is almost empty from perhaps Penge West station.

So do passengers from the East London Line wanting to go to Croydon choose a train to East Croydon?

  • East Croydon has a cornucopia of services going all over the South.
  • West Croydon has only a few services and no long distance ones.
  • There are no intermediate stations between either station and Norwood Junction station.
  • East Croydon is the hub station of London Tramlink.
  • There is only a tram service going East at West Croydon.
  • To get a tram to Wimbledon at West Croydon, it is a long walk, which is badly signposted.

What is needed is a dedicated Overground platform at East Croydon station.

  • One platform could handle six trains per hour (tph)
  • It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to East London and especially Whitechapel station, for the Eastern branches of Crossrail.

I know space is difficult, but I suspect that there is a solution somewhere.

Refurbish The Class 700 Trains

The Class 700 trains have only been in service for about two years, but when you travel on one after using another train, you realise their inadequacies.

  • The seats are worse than most and certainly not up to the standard of those on Electrostars, like the Class 377 train, I took to Gatwick.
  • There is no wi-fi.
  • There are no power sockets to charge a mobile phone or laptop.
  • Tables don’t exist in most of Standard Class.
  • There’s nowhere to put a drink.
  • Some drivers, who worked for East Midlands Trains told me, that they are not fast enough for the Midland Main Line.

They are crap design of the highest class. They certainly don’t say “Welcome to the UK”, to arriving passengers at Gatwick.

But I do believe the trains can be sorted, as the Class 707 trains are better.

Extend The Freedom Pass Area

A Freedom Pass works to any station in Fare Zone 6, with a few extensions like Shenfield station using TfL Rail and Watford Junction station using the Overground.

I don’t think that the area, where the Freedom Pass can be used for free, should be extended, but the technology must exist to link a Freedom Pass with a credit or debit card, so that all journeys within the Oyster contactless area are charged appropriately.

I’m surprised that this or something like it hasn’t been implemented yet, as surely it could be an encouragement for Freedom Pass holders to vote for a Mayoral candidate.

Conclusion

Travelling to Gatwick will get easier and more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

June 14, 2018 - Posted by | Travel | , , , ,

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