Norwich to Gatwick Airport by Overnight Train

The train from Norwich to London Liverpool Street wasn’t very busy, around a handful of passengers in each carriage. Although, slightly irritatingly, I had to change carriage after getting all comfortable as I discovered the power didn’t work in the one that I had chosen. The conductor was a friendly and affable man, with the train being spotlessly clean since the cleaners spent around thirty minutes on it, cleaning it both inside and out.

Safely at London Liverpool Street, arriving on time. I noticed customers in two carriages couldn’t get out, an unfortunate side effect of these slam shut doors. I, being ever helpful, opened one door when walking by, whilst the others managed to unfree themselves from their trap.

Although I had a ticket to use public transport from London Liverpool Street to London Blackfriars, the underground was just shutting down and the times suggested by GWR didn’t seem to actually correspond to any underground trains. So, since I like walking, I went for the option of the 25-minute walk across the city.

I’ve never seen the above church, which is St Ethelburga’s at Bishopgate, near to Liverpool Street station, which just goes to show how unobservant that I can be… It’s one of the few surviving medieval churches in the city centre and there were once two shops at the front of the building, but these have since been removed. It was also one of the churches which allowed divorcees to remarry, which wasn’t quite within the rules of the time. Although the building has mostly survived, even through the London Blitz, it didn’t entirely make it through an IRA bomb placed outside in 1993, which destroyed 70% of the building.

The Bank of England.

St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Safely at Blackfriars station, where I promptly went up the wrong escalator and reached the platform for trains to Luton Airport. Hopefully no-one noticed me going up one escalator and then straight back down the one next to it.

This was awkward, I’d reached the correct platform, which was Platform 1, and noticed there was a train ready and waiting to depart to Three Bridges. This is also the train to Gatwick Airport and the passenger in front of me ran for the train, where as I thought I’d have a little meander around as I was hardly in a rush. And then I heard the station staff call out that they’d hold the train for me, so I do a slightly fast walk to get a train that I didn’t really need to get.

I thought I looked quite smooth and nonplussed in walking towards the train, although I might have actually rushed and been less lackadaisical if it was a train I was actually trying to get.

On board the Thameslink service from London Blackfriars to Gatwick Airport.

The train arrived on time at Gatwick Airport.

Inside the terminal, one of the few times that the ticket machines are so underused. Incidentally, my railway ticket failed to open the barriers and I noted that Gatwick Airport had employed a member of barrier staff who didn’t burden himself in using his customer service skills. But, since he was standing there at 01:00 in the morning, perhaps it’s not entirely fair to expect him to be anything other than fed up.

And here we are at Gatwick Airport arrivals at South Terminal, arriving around 30 minutes earlier than expected as I accidentally caught a train I hadn’t intended to get at London Blackfriars. The ticket cost just over £20, which I think is reasonable given the distance travelled and the comfort provided. It just now means I have to faff about for my flight, but I like the adventure really….