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Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

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Gothenburg, Sweden
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Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

Good afternoon,

Yet another train question. On Friday we will travel from Gatwick to London Bridge. I have visited various pages, incl. Southern and First Capital Connect as well as Transport London.

I'm more confused than before I did my research, for example lot of trips displays a combination of Southern & First Cap, so I guess buying from Southern or First Cap doesn't really matter?

Is it possible to book an open ticket online, I don't see that option, or are we better of buying tickets at Gatwick airport since we arrive by air? The booking system of the webpages confuses me, and I consider myself a veteran internet shopper.

Also would a all-zone off-peak visitor Travel pass/ticket allow me to ride the Southern or First Cap from Gatwick to London bridge, if so, do I need to reserve a seat?

To conclude, I need a ticket departing Gatwick to London Bridge this Friday with return on Sunday, what and when is my best option to book?

Thanks in advance,

EK

Aylmer, Canada
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1. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

I'm no expert on anything, but here is the link to National Rail, which may help you http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/.

Funkynassau

London, United...
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2. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

Here's the easy answer: buy at the airport! Just queue at the ticket office, tell the ticket office clerk what you need and they'll sell you the best ticket. The queue moves very quickly, even if it's long. You don't need a seat reservation for either service to London Bridge.

I believe Southern and FCC are code-sharing, so to speak.

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

We just travelled to and from Gatwick and the London Bridge Station two weeks ago and bought our tickets at the station. It took hardly any time at all. We were able to get the next available quickest train which involved waiting less than 5 minutes. I note that some of the FCC trains are faster than others -- 30 minutes vs 50 minutes -- so it was worth asking when buying.

Surrey UK
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4. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

If you ask at the Gatwick ticket office for a ticket to London Bridge, you can use it on either First Capital Connect or Southern trains. But the fast trains on that route are operated by First Capital Connect.

If you ask at the Gatwick ticket office for "a Travelcard" you'll get a ticket that will take you to the boundary of the London Travelcard area, and then let you have unlimited travel by Tube (=metro), bus and local train within London Zones 1-6 for the rest of the day. Neither the National Rail website nor the First Capital Connect website sems to be set up to give a price for this option. But it does exist and is usually cheaper than buying a single to London Bridge and then a Zone 1-2 Travelcard.

London
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5. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

Both Southern and FirstCapital have trains between Gatwick and London Bridge. The journey planner sometimes gives you journeys with a combintaion of trains (changing at East Croydon) because it might save a minute here and there - but usually it is much simpler to stay on one train all the way. Most First Capital trains do the journey in 29minutes - which can be faster than Gatwick Express.

When you buy your ticket, ask for a return ticket to London "not Gatwick Express". The ticket clerk will understand that - it's a normal request.

That gives you the flexibility to use all trains between the airport and London - except Gatwick Express of course. The reason for asking for this ticket is that it gives you lots of flexibility but without paying the silly prices that are demanded for Gatwick Express. It also allows you to/from travel from Victoria or Blackfriars if those stations happen to be more convenient - or if there is any disruption to the London Bridge service.

Just buy your ticket at the railway station at Gatwick when you arrive. If you book ahead you can get slightly cheaper tickets - but the saving is so small it really isn;t worth worrying about. You only save a few pounds at best - but in doing so you restrict yourself to a single train - if your flight is late you've lost your money.

The "all zone" tickets that you have seen can only be used within London itself. Gatwick is about 60km outside London - so you can't use the zonal tickets for this journey. You can buy the rail ticket with the travel card included - but I suspect that is restricted to same day return only (anyone know better?)

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

I can appreciate that it does look confusing as there are three train operators (if you count the GEX as an operator) with different fares for their services.

Outside the peak rush hour there are four First Capital Connect services per hour. These take just 29 minutes to LBG with only one stop en-route at East Croydon. Note these trains will be posted as a service to Bedford, which is the final destination. A single fare for FCC is GBP8.90 which is easiest to buy at Gatwick Station.

There are also two trains per hour on Southern direct to LBG, however these are stopping services and hence take 50 minutes. It's GBP1.00 cheaper for the single ticket at 7.90. There are cheaper but highly restricted tickets, and these also require a change of train at East Croydon, which I don't think is worth the hassle.

Make sure you insist on the FCC only fare, otherwise you may be offered a more expensive any-train ticket of either 9.30 or 11.80 that covers the Southern and Gatwick Express services that you don't want to use anyway.

Btw, where is your ultimate final destination?

Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

Regarding your return on Sunday. FCC is the only direct service to Gatwick from LBG, with services every 30 minutes. A return ticket for FCC trains (only) is GBP17.00, which you can purchase at Gatwick on Friday.

Gothenburg, Sweden
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8. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

Thanks' for the helpful replays.

My final destination for the trip will be London Bridge. FCC train service it is then, on my from Gatwick the Bedford"bound train and on my way back Gatwick bound?

EK

Portland, Oregon
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9. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

The return FCC train to Gatwick has a final destination is Brighton. But that is the train.

Edited: 14 October 2010, 08:50
10. Re: Going from Gatwick to London Bridge, Southern, First Cap?

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