- Heathrow Connect
Infobox Rail companies
image_filename=360205 at Westbourne Park.jpg
franchise=Not subject to franchising
service began 12 June 2005
logo_filename=Heathrow connect logo.png
regions=London Paddington - Heathrow Airport
fleet=5 Class 360 sets| stations=8 (2 operated)
First Great Western
Heathrow Connect is a train service in
Londonprovided by Heathrow Expressand First Great Western, connecting Heathrow Airport with Paddington station. The service follows the same route as the Heathrow Express service but serves intermediate stations on its route, thus connecting several locations in West Londonwith each other, the airport, and Central London. It normally leaves from Platform 12 at Paddington with services every 30 minutes.
The service, which was launched on
12 June 2005, makes use of new five carriage Class 360/2 electric multiple-unit trains built by Siemens in Germany. Heathrow Connectservices serve Heathrow Central station (Terminals 1, 2, 3) and terminate at Heathrow Terminal 4. Only Heathrow Express and London Undergroundservices serve the new Heathrow Terminal 5 station. The on-board pre-recorded announcements were made by a member of Heathrow Express staff, but since the opening of terminal 5 a professional voice actress has been used.
Fares between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington are the same as for
First Great Westernservices, but the single fare between Hayes and Heathrow is £4.90. Travelcards and Freedom Passes are not valid on the service between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow, but can be used throughout the rest of the line.
The service is designed principally for the use of BAA staff and locals from West London for travel to Heathrow, and with a staff ID card, discounted fares are available for the journey between Hayes and Heathrow.
Originally it was not intended to be used as a cheaper (but slower) alternative to the
Heathrow Expressservice from Paddington to Heathrow: every Connect service is overtaken by an Express service "en route", and at Paddington trains were advertised on departure boards as running to Hayes & Harlington.
Now, however, Heathrow Connect is now being offered as a cheaper way to reach Paddington from Heathrow and vice versa, with a fare of £6.90 one way (less than half the Heathrow Express fare) and a journey time of 25 minutes against the Express time of 15 minutes.
The service uses the slow lines of the
Great Western Main Linebetween Airport Junction and Paddington, replacing some stopping services operated by the former First Great Western Link. These lines were electrified as part of the original Heathrow Express project as a diversionary route. The lines are electrified at 25 kV ACoverhead and feature Automatic Train Protection.
To access the airport spur while avoiding crossing the fast lines, trains in both directions use the flyover track originally built for Heathrow Express trains heading towards Paddington. This arrangement means Heathrow Connect trains to the airport use the flyover in the opposite direction to normal operation, and trains from Heathrow must cross both of the slow lines on the flat. When
Crossrailgoes ahead, the flyover will be rebuilt to overcome these problems.
Heathrow Connect services run from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 4 every 30 minutes. There is also a dedicated Heathrow Connect unit which provides a shuttle service between Terminal 4 and Heathrow Central, thereby maintainting a 15 minute frequency between the terminals. This service can also be used free of charge for passengers transferring terminals at Heathrow.
Heathrow Connect will be absorbed into the
Crossrailservice once it starts, with the train paths currently used extended as services to Shenfieldand Abbey Wood. [ [http://www.alwaystouchout.com/project/67 alwaystouchout.com Heathrow Connect] ]
Heathrow Connect has a complex operating structure. The rolling stock and driving staff are supplied by BAA through the
Heathrow Expresscompany. Conductors are supplied through a company called ICTS (UK) Ltd. [Job advertisement for on-board assistants with ICTS - http://www.icts.co.uk/Vacancies/Permanent%20Vacancy%20HEX.pdf - accessed 14th April 2008] For the portion of the journey between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington these are rented to First Great Westernand the service is classed as being "operated" by the latter. Between Hayes & Harlington and Airport Junction, it runs using open access rights obtained by Heathrow Express. [ [http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/passenger/invitationtotender/greaterwestern.pdf Greater Western franchise ITT, page 69] ] Beyond Airport Junction the track is owned by BAA.
* [http://www.heathrowconnect.com/ Heathrow Connect] official website
* [http://travel.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,7445,1504531,00.html Heathrow...at a price] - Guardian article regarding the expensive fares on the service (since this article the Heathrow Connect fares were lowered, this happened some time ago, but link useful for reference.
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