- Heathrow Express
Infobox Rail companies
image_filename=332005 at Paddington 2.jpg
franchise=Not subject to franchising;
service began 23 June 1998
regions=London Paddington – Heathrow Airport
fleet=14 Class 332 sets
stations=4 (3 operated)
Heathrow Express is a
trainservice from Heathrow Airport to Paddington in Central Londonoperated by the Heathrow Express Operating Authority; a wholly owned subsidiary of BAA. The service is not part of the National Railsystem, despite part of its journey sharing track with National Rail trains and terminating at a London mainline station. Tony Blairperformed the ceremonial opening.
Trains leave Paddington every 15 minutes from 05.10 until 23.25 (23.10 on Saturdays), and there is a similar quarter-hourly service in the return direction. At Paddington, Heathrow Express trains use two dedicated platforms (6 and 7). There are two stops at Heathrow: Heathrow Central station, serving Terminals 1, 2, 3 (journey time from Paddington approximately 15 minutes), and
Heathrow Terminal 5 station(journey time approximately 21 minutes). Until the opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow on 27 March 2008, Heathrow Express services served Terminal 4, but this has now been discontinued and Terminal 4 is now the new terminus for Heathrow Connectinstead.
The service uses Class 332 electric multiple unit trains built by Siemens. The trains incorporate numerous modern features including video monitors and the ability to use mobile phones throughout the journey—even when in tunnels. The monitors are mostly used for advertising purposes and for the broadcast of news and weather updates produced for Heathrow Express by
BBC World News.
Since its opening, Heathrow Express has been generally well received, not least because steps were taken to reduce the environmental impact of the train line. Measures included disguising ventilation shafts as barns. The service has received some criticism, however, mainly due to its cost, the lack of a quiet zone on some trains and the poor air quality at
As of September 2008, it costs around £16.50 for a single journey in standard class and around £26.00 for first class.
There is also a stopping service (
Heathrow Connect) which takes the same route from Central Londonto Heathrow, using the slower relief lines, on which lower fares are charged. While this service takes 10 minutes longer it usefully offers connections to the Central Lineand District Lineat Ealing Broadway.
Airport commuters can get a discount through the Airport Commuter scheme operated by BAA. A monthly pass costs £130 as of January 2007.
Construction began in 1993. The principal works were the construction of a 5 mile tunnel and underground stations at Heathrow, and electrification of the
Great Western Main Linebetween Paddington and "Airport Junction". A flying junctionknown as "Stockley Flyover" was constructed to connect the tunnel to the GWML fast lines.
One of the most catastrophic
civil engineeringdisasters in British history occurred on 21 October 1994, when one of the partially constructed tunnels carrying the railway into the Terminal 1,2,3 complex collapsed without warning. An office building and a car park were consumed by the huge crater which opened up between Heathrow's two parallel runways. The principal contractor, Balfour Beatty, was found guilty of negligence in February 1999. The collapse had far reaching consequences, since it also stopped construction of the extended Jubilee Lineof the London Underground, where contractors were using similar tunnelling methods.
Beginning in January 1998, an interim service called Heathrow FastTrain ran to a temporary station called Heathrow Junction, where a coach took passengers the rest of the way. The full service opened on
23 June 1998.
The service runs along the
Great Western Main Linefrom Paddington to airport junction ( Network Railowned infrastructure). The line from airport junction to the airport terminals is owned by BAA. The line is electrified at 25 kV ACoverhead and uses Automatic Train Protection. The Controlling Signalbox for the entire route is Slough (New) IECC.
* [http://www.heathrowexpress.com/ Heathrow Express homepage]
* [http://www.airportexpressalliance.com/ Airport Express Alliance]
First Great Western
Airport rail link
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