Cheaper Southern and Thameslink train tickets accepted on Gatwick Express until September

London-based readers will almost certainly have seen, if they haven’t been personally impacted, the chaos surrounding the new Thameslink rail timetable.  Due to a lack of driver training on the new routes, there are huge numbers of cancellations due to no trains being available.

In an attempt to get people moving by any route possible, all Thameslink and Southern tickets towards Brighton can be used on Gatwick Express services until at least 31st August.

Thameslink and Southern tickets are, of course, cheaper than Gatwick Express tickets.

You probably won’t be able to buy a Thameslink ticket at Victoria, although the ticket office could do it, but you can buy a ‘Southern only’ ticket and then hop on the Gatwick Express.

Gatwick Express fares brief

The official announcement is above (click to enlarge) but here is the key wording:

“With immediate effect until 31st August 2018:

Valid ‘Thameslink only’ routed season, single and return tickets can be used on any Gatwick Express, Southern or Thameslink train service that will enable them to complete their journey.

Valid ‘Southern only’ routed season, single and return tickets can be used on any Gatwick Express, Southern or Thameslink train service that will enable them to complete their journey.

Valid ‘Not Gatwick Express’ routed season, single and return tickets can be used on any Gatwick Express, Southern or Thameslink train service that will enable them to complete their journey.

Normal time restrictions on the use of tickets and Railcards will remain in place.”

Credit card bits: Tesco to refund Curve fees, Tesco closes its Premium card, Lufthansa closes its card
What is the best alternative to the United Airlines MileagePlus UK credit card?
Some links on Head for Points pay us an affiliate commission. A list of our partners is here.

About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. As I understand it, since all these trains are operated by the same company (Govia Thameslink Railway), they have no legal basis to actually restrict tickets by “sub-brand”, however having an argument with poorly-trained staff every day is not worth it and someone needs to be willing to test this in court.

  2. Stu R says:

    Wow, respectfully, today must be a very slow news day …. ?

    • James123 says:

      Why? For anyone travelling to Gatwick,the second busiest airport in the country, from London by train this saves them ~£15 per trip. I’m going this weekend and wouldn’t have otherwise known I could buy a cheaper ticket.

    • I thought this was quite interesting and, importantly, you won’t read it anywhere else.

    • Yes it’s very interesting and relevant to many readers I imagine. I don’t live in London but I’ll be travelling round the Southern region over the next few days and I’m grateful to be made aware that I can enjoy the comfort of the Gatwick Express on a cheaper ticket.

      • Ian P says:

        There’s no additional comfort on GX. In fact, it’ll be less comfortable on a new GX 387 with the “ironing board” seats than the older Southern 377s with actual seat cushions.

        The only advantage to Gatwick Express is you might get there 2-5 minutes sooner and it’s usually less crowded than the Southern services that stop at Clapham Jn and East Croydon.

        • I’m on this route every day and I’d always rather be on the Gatwick Express….seats are hard though.

  3. In an attempt to steer this site from being London-only, should we not mention the thousands of daily cancellations in the North as part of the ’emergency timetable’. Even on the emergency timetable fewer than half of trains are running on time if at all. I fear for those travelling to the airports.

  4. CountryKerry says:

    A consequence of this timetable is that you can buy a London Blackfriars- Gatwick Airport Thameslink only ticket and jump on at Victoria and take the Gatwick Express straight there. (Suppose this is only useful for those who pass Victoria on the way!)

    This is because tickets are also valid on the London Underground via any reasonable route (and it’s reasonable to go Blackfriars – Victoria on the district line, then take the Gatwick Express).

    • Simon says:

      What’s not clear is whether you could now use oyster on the Gatwick Express in the same way that you can currently use it on Southern and Thameslink.

      • Lumma says:

        You can use Oyster/Contactless on the Gatwick express and you’ve been able to since it was accepted on the other trains. You get charged a premium to use it however as the Gatwick express uses two specific platforms at Victoria and the charge is linked to the card readers at those particular gates.

        Unless of course, there’s problems on the route and the train has to use an alternative platform at Victoria, then you’d be charged the Southern rail fare

  5. Mark Horne says:

    Can u use Oyster cards on the Gatwick Express as well?

  6. ankomonkey says:

    Does this work in both directions: London->Gatwick and Gatwick->London?

  7. I have one of the £5 specific train only sothern advance single tickets Gatwick to Brighton, do i still have to take that train if it is running or can i jump on a different one? The brief says “normal time restrictions” apply?

    • That is based on the peak / off-peak restrictions.

      There is virtually a 0% chance your Southern train will actually be running so I wouldn’t worry about it anyway!

    • Yes, you still have to take that train if it’s running. I’ve checked with Southern & GX and had the following reply…

      “Advance tickets still need to be used on their booked train. Ticket acceptance is only for single and season tickets. If a service is cancelled then you could use it for the previous or following train.”

  8. If you were planning on getting the Thameslink to Gatwick and using contactless payment instead of a paper ticket, I presume there is no way to use this reciprocity and be charged what you would have been charged on a Thameslink only journey?

    • Lumma says:

      It’s the gates at Victoria which are programmed to know if you’re getting on the express or not, so you’d still be charged £19.80 each way I believe

      • Suzanne says:

        Gatwick Express website requests that you touch through specific gates in order to pay the reduced fare. To quote the website as updated at 12.19 today (click on ‘Ticket Acceptance arrangements’ banner at top of page): “I use Oyster or Contactless – what should I do? Customers travelling using Oyster or Contactless between Victoria and Gatwick Airport (and vice versa), please make sure that you touch in/out at London Victoria using the 9-12 gates, rather than those on 13/14, to ensure you are charged the correct fare during this time.”

        • presume you have to get a member of staff to let you into the 9-12 platform area after arriving into the 13/14 platforms ?

  9. Presumably that excludes Advance tickets that are for a specific train though…

  10. It’s true that ticket acceptance is in place, however staff have been instructed to sell the ticket that matches the journey the customer intends to make. So they will ask you what time you want to depart, and if you answer with a GX train then they will sell you the more expensive GX ticket.

    If you want to take advantage of this tip you should specifically ask for a “Southern Only” ticket.

    By the same token, they should be able to sell you a TL Only ticket assuming you can convince them that you plan to travel over to Blackfriars or London Bridge to start your journey.

  11. Harpreet says:

    OT was hoping for some advice.

    My partner currently has Platinum amex (hit sign up bonus few months ago) and BA premium card (hit 2-4-1 voucher this week).

    The plan is for her to refer me for Amex gold next month (will be 6 months since I closed my card). The question is what should we do with her current BA card? We were going to downgrade it to get a pro rata refund of the £195 fee. However the other option is to cancel it completely so that we can reapply for it sooner.

    I am eligible for the new BA card sign up bonus in September so after I hit the target with the gold card, I will be getting BA card. Usually we keep my partner’s BA card so that we can refer ourselves again to maximize the referral bonus, but now that there is a loophole by referring from Amex platinum/gold, is there any point keeping it?

    Thanks

  12. Nathan says:

    OT was hoping for some advice.

    My partner currently has Platinum amex (hit sign up bonus few months ago) and BA premium card (hit 2-4-1 voucher this week).

    The plan is for her to refer me for Amex gold next month (will be 6 months since I closed my card). The question is what should we do with her current BA card? We were going to downgrade it to get a pro rata refund of the £195 fee. However the other option is to cancel it completely so that we can reapply for it sooner.

    I am eligible for the new BA card sign up bonus in September so after I hit the target with the gold card, I will be getting BA card. Usually we keep my partner’s BA card so that we can refer ourselves again to maximize the referral bonus, but now that there is a loophole by referring from Amex platinum/gold, is there any point keeping it?

    Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      Cancel ASAP.
      “Usually we keep my partner’s BA card so that we can refer ourselves again to maximize the referral bonus”. Surely cancelling and getting another 26k in 6 months vs say what 4k or whatever it is from BA blue for a referral was more advantageous?

  13. Relaxo says:

    I’m flying into Gatwick later this month & need to get to Victoria station. I was planning on taking GX. Which ticket do i need to purchase to save me money? And would I need to buy in advance? Sorry for the rookie question….dont ever make it to Gatwick……

    • Lumma says:

      With the ticket acceptance in this article you probably be best off buying a paper Thameslink ticket (£10.70) and using it on the Gatwick express. Seems to be cheaper than the peak prices on Oyster/Contactless even on the slower trains, although off peak would be cheaper with Oyster as long as you don’t get on the Express.

      No idea how bad the service is on the trains from Gatwick presently, maybe look at getting a coach to Victoria instead?

    • Andy Stock says:

      A single Thameslink only ticket, which can be used on Gatwick Express until 28 August 2018.

  14. IslandDweller says:

    Trains to Victoria are running (relatively) well, both Southern and Express brands. Although the timetable for services under these brands was adjusted, it’s still the same drivers operating the same type of trains on the same route – signing on / off at the same depots.
    Thameslink brand is a debacle because they’ve introduced a new timetable with new trains (not all delivered yet) over changed routes (nowhere near enough drivers trained on new routes yet), whilst simultaneously changing which depots operate which service. A case of what could possibly go wrong,….
    For a Gatwick to Victoria journey, no reason at all to switch to the coach. The service is so incredibly frequent that you’ll hardly notice the occasional cancellation on that route.

  15. Andy Stock says:

    Don’t forget to claim delay repay if you’re delayed for more than 15 mins on Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern, Gatwick Express, Sourh Western Railway and London North Western. You can claim against the original 20th May 2018 timetable.

    I make a note of the delay on my mobile, then I add the delay to my ‘Delay Repay’ spreadsheet while completing the claim.

    So far in 2018:

    20+ claims with Great Northern & Thameslink
    1 claim with South Western Railway
    2 claims with the DLR (TFL)
    1 claim with the met line (TFL)

    • the real harry1 says:

      no good for season ticket holders, unfortunately

      • Genghis says:

        Why not? I claim when I buy my weekly travel card and the train is delayed.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Weekly is different to season tickets 1 month or longer, unfortunately. Feels like a right get-out clause, my kids’ trains (GWR) have rotten reliability, but usually zilch compo. Eg

          Season Ticket compensation
          If you have a season ticket for a month or longer, compensation is based on whether we meet our punctuality and reliability targets. If we don’t, we’ll give you a discount when you renew your ticket.

          Punctuality and reliability
          We measure punctuality by the number of trains arriving at their final destination ‘on time’; every service has a small allowance of leeway. Our reliability is based on the number of scheduled trains that actually run.

          When we pay
          If we don’t meet one of our targets, and fall below a certain percentage, compensation will be triggered. If we fell below the trigger percentage in the last 12 months, we’ll give you 5% off your next season ticket. If we miss both the punctuality and the reliability targets, and fall below both triggers, we’ll give you 10%.

        • the real harry1 says:

          This has made me think, however. For students, most season tickets/ half terms (ie the time at school) are going to be 6-7 weeks, there’s no saving by buying a longer season ticket eg 14 weeks & ‘wasting’ the half term holiday in the middle.

          Maybe I can calculate what I might get as a result with 2x 3 week season tickets per half term @ school. Divide the half term in 2. Ie then we could get compo for all the rotten reliability.

          I already split tickets, which saves £180 pa

        • Genghis says:

          Didn’t realise it was different in some parts of the country. I know some TOCs don’t use the delay repay model but thought its application (except time) was universal. Southeastern for example have delay repay on annual season tickets at a /464 rate
          https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/compensation

        • the real harry1 says:

          Unfortunately it wouldn’t work – delays would have to be over 1 hr down here in Cornwall to get compo, rubbish GWR policy – the trains are often late but not usually that late

        • Lev441 says:

          @genghis /TRH1 – many of the rail franchises have moved to the delay repay model but not all – this has been changing slowly depending on when the franchises have been renewed/changed hands. However the current GWR dates back to 2006 (and has had some direct award extensions since this time) and this form of compensation was common back then!

  16. the real harry1 says:

    O/T bits: Many suitcases sold by Tesco Direct now half price in the great closing down sale, eg
    https://www.tesco.com/direct/sports-leisure/hard-suitcases/cat11510006.cat?catId=4294913439+4294959246&currentPageType=Category&pageViewType=grid&sortBy=1&lastFilter=Sold%20By|Tesco&responseToRender=ALL&loadMoreTile=true&pageType=category&offset=0

    Do your own search for the size you’re after.

    Amex/ Clubcard points on top.

  17. Caleb says:

    With a advance single ticket like this, can I go to Victoria and pop on GX instead? Thanks.

    Journey 1: BATH SPA to GATWICK AIRPORT
    Departs Arrives By Reservations
    10:43 BATH SPA 12:14 LONDON PADDINGTON Train (GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY)
    12:14 LONDON PADDINGTON 12:54 FARRINGDON Tube (Unknown Service Provider)
    12:54 FARRINGDON 13:34 GATWICK AIRPORT Train (THAMESLINK)
    Ticket details
    Passenger(s) 1 Adult(s)
    Ticket type ADVANCE SINGLE
    Route Only valid on booked trains and required connecting services.

  18. IslandDweller says:

    Caleb. Yes, any it has nothing to do with the ticket easement discussed in this thread.
    On your ticket you must travel on the booked ‘GWR’ service from Bath to London, but you can use any train from London to Gatwick (any brand, Thameslink, Southern, or Express).
    The transfer from Paddington to Faringdon is much easier than to Victoria (a station I find to be a permanent zoo). Unless there is a particular problem with Thameslink on the day of your journey (which you can check as you approach London), I’d stick with the original itinerary.

    • Caleb says:

      Thanks IslandDweller, as I found that Google Maps suggested after getting to Paddington is to go and get GX from Victoria, and can get to Gatwick at 1311. Much earlier than the Thameslink on my advance single. I will have a look on the day. But just want to make sure even the original ticket is to go to Farringdon for Thameslink, I can still have the option to go to Victoria for GX.

Add your comment here:

*

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.