A new look railway station has opened to passengers for the first time after a major revamp.

Much of Gatwick Airport station was a building site for passengers travelling through the airport as multi-million pound works took place to double the space and increase accessibility throughout.

Passengers used the five new lifts and eight new escalators inside the new concourse, which spans the platforms under a huge superstructure, after the first train arrived at 5.48am this morning on Platform 7.

Track upgrades mean journeys along the Brighton Mainline between Brighton and London have been slashed to just one hour - while across the board five minutes has been cut off journey times.

The Argus: The new lift towers on the concourseThe new lift towers on the concourse (Image: Network Rail)

Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail Sussex route director, said: “I’m delighted to see the upgraded Gatwick Airport station open today, providing the millions of passengers that use the station each year with a fantastic and fit-for-purpose station that supports the ambitions of London Gatwick and the significant growth in passengers expected in the years to come.

“This has been a highly complex and challenging project and I am proud of how hard our teams have worked in close conjunction with our partners to deliver a station upgrade that makes journeys to the airport much easier for all passengers and encourages people to ditch the car and travel by rail, the cleanest and greenest way to travel.

“This project is not just for those making their way to the airport, the work benefits passengers right across the route by giving them quicker journeys and a more reliable timetable. I hope passengers enjoy this newly upgraded station.”

The Argus: The station opened this morningThe station opened this morning (Image: Network Rail)

Trains used to spend long periods of time on the platforms while passengers lugging heavy suitcases made their way towards the limited number of escalators and lifts up out of the station.

This meant that the train could not be safely dispatched until the platform was clear, causing tailbacks of trains on approach to the station.

But now the new escalators and lifts will share the footfall and encourage passengers to use the full length of the platform.

The Argus: Millions of passengers use the station every yearMillions of passengers use the station every year (Image: Network Rail)

Transport Secretary Mark Harper added: “With millions of people travelling into Gatwick Airport by train each year, this station is a major public transport hub and has been upgraded thanks to Government funding, improving the train-to-plane journey and delivering more reliable services for passengers.

“Today’s opening demonstrates this Government’s commitment to funding improvements to our rail network, transforming a vital station into an impressive gateway to the UK and helping more British and international passengers to travel by train.”

The Argus: After leaving the concourse passengers will walk out into the South TerminalAfter leaving the concourse passengers will walk out into the South Terminal (Image: Network Rail)

The new concourse acts as the entrance for people accessing the airport terminal, while the existing station concourse - which was also refurbished - will act as an entrance from the airport to the station.

The works began in 2020 with the aim of doubling the amount of space for passengers using the station with a new superstructure over the platforms.

Natural light floods the space through ethylene tetrafluoroethylene skylights - the same as that in the Eden Project, making the concourse feel very open and airy.

Striking new lift towers also connect the concourse to the platforms - with a huge capacity for 45 people.