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Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express

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Heathrow Express is an airport rail link
Airport rail link
An airport rail link is a service providing passenger rail transport from an airport to a nearby city; by mainline- or commuter trains, rapid transit, people mover or light rail...

 from London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

 to London Paddington station in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 operated by the Heathrow Express Operating Authority, a wholly owned subsidiary of BAA. It was opened by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 in 1998. It is not legally part of the National Rail
National Rail
National Rail is a title used by the Association of Train Operating Companies as a generic term to define the passenger rail services operated in Great Britain...

 system, even though it shares track with National Rail trains for much of its journey and terminates at a London mainline station.

Service


Trains leave Paddington every 15 minutes from 05.10 until 23.25, 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, serving Terminals 1, 2, 3 (journey time from Paddington 15 minutes), and Heathrow Terminal 5
Heathrow Terminal 5 station
Heathrow Terminal 5 station is a shared railway station at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 which was opened on 27 March 2008. It was designed by architects HOK International in conjunction with Rogers, Stirk, Harbour & Partners....

 (journey time 21 minutes). Until the opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow on 27 March 2008, Heathrow Express also served Terminal 4, but this has now been discontinued and Terminal 4 is now the terminus for the Heathrow Express Terminal 4 'shuttle' (Mondays to Saturdays) and the Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Connect is a train operating company in London provided jointly by Heathrow Express and First Great Western, connecting Heathrow Airport with station. The service follows the same route as the Heathrow Express service but serves intermediate stations en route, thus connecting several...

 instead.

The service uses Class 332
British Rail Class 332
The British Rail Class 332 is the type of electric multiple unit train used on the Heathrow Express between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport.-Description:The fleet was built in 1997-1998 by Siemens and CAF at the latter’s factory in Zaragoza, Spain...

 electric multiple unit trains built by Siemens
Siemens AG
Siemens AG is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company....

/CAF
CAF
CAF may refer to:Armed forces*Canadian Armed Forces , the Canadian Air Force, Army, and Navy*Canadian Air Force, now the Royal Canadian Air Force*Republic of China Air Force, the air force of the Republic of China...

. These incorporate video monitors and the ability to use mobile phones throughout the journey — even in tunnels. The monitors are mostly used for advertising purposes and for the broadcast of news and weather updates produced for Heathrow Express by Sky News
Sky News
Sky News is a 24-hour British and international satellite television news broadcaster with an emphasis on UK and international news stories.The service places emphasis on rolling news, including the latest breaking news. Sky News also hosts localised versions of the channel in Australia and in New...

. Prior to April 2010 news content was provided 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, particularly of its high fares.

A single Express class fare is £16.50 online, £18.00 at ticket offices and machines, and £23 if purchased onboard. A single journey in First class is £26.00 and £50.00 return. Tickets can be purchased at either of the two Heathrow Airport stations, Paddington Station
Paddington station
Paddington railway station, also known as London Paddington, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex.The site is a historic one, having served as the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the current mainline station dates...

, onboard the train, online at www.heathrowexpress.com or using mobile applications for BlackBerry
BlackBerry
BlackBerry is a line of mobile email and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion since 1999.BlackBerry devices are smartphones, designed to function as personal digital assistants, portable media players, internet browsers, gaming devices, and much more...

, Android, iPhone
IPhone
The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

 and iPad
IPad
The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The iPad was introduced on January 27, 2010 by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs. Its size and...

 devices.

Standard class travel between Heathrow terminal 5 and Terminals 1,2 and 3 is free.

There is also a stopping service (Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Connect is a train operating company in London provided jointly by Heathrow Express and First Great Western, connecting Heathrow Airport with station. The service follows the same route as the Heathrow Express service but serves intermediate stations en route, thus connecting several...

) which takes the same route from Central London
Central London
Central London is the innermost part of London, England. There is no official or commonly accepted definition of its area, but its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally,...

 to Heathrow, using the slower relief lines, on which significantly lower fares are charged. This takes approximately 15 minutes longer than Heathrow Express, but offers connections to the London Underground (Central Line
Central Line
The Central line is a London Underground line, coloured red on the tube map. It is a deep-level "tube" line, running east-west across London, and, at , has the greatest total length of track of any line on the Underground. Of the 49 stations served, 20 are below ground...

 and District Line
District Line
The District line is a line of the London Underground, coloured green on the Tube map. It is a "sub-surface" line, running through the central area in shallow cut-and-cover tunnels. It is the busiest of the sub-surface lines. Out of the 60 stations served, 25 are underground...

) at Ealing Broadway
Ealing Broadway station
Ealing Broadway is an east-west National Rail and London Underground station in Ealing in west London. The station is located in Haven Green , at the termination of The Broadway, and is in Travelcard Zone 3.-Services:...

. The introduction of Heathrow Connect has probably somewhat deflected criticism of the high fares on Heathrow Express.
In 2010, Heathrow Express announced that, as a way of improving the connections between the terminals at the airport, it would be introducing a dedicated shuttle between Heathrow Central and Terminal 4
Heathrow Terminal 4 railway station
Heathrow Terminal 4 is a railway station located in London Heathrow Airport.The station is served by the Heathrow Express 'shuttle' service providing a train every 15 minutes between Terminal 4 and Heathrow Central. Some early morning, late evening and most Sunday services are operated by Heathrow...

 that would be timed to connect with the main Heathrow Express service to Terminal 5
Heathrow Terminal 5 station
Heathrow Terminal 5 station is a shared railway station at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 which was opened on 27 March 2008. It was designed by architects HOK International in conjunction with Rogers, Stirk, Harbour & Partners....

.

Airport workers can get a discount through the Airport Commuter scheme operated by BAA. A monthly pass costs £130 as of January 2007.

Performance


The latest performance figure for Heathrow Express for the second quarter of the 2010-11 financial year was 96.0% PPM - meaning that 96.0 per cent of trains arrived at their destination within 5 minutes of the scheduled time.

Construction



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 Line
Great Western Main Line
The Great Western Main Line is a main line railway in Great Britain that runs westwards from London Paddington station to the west of England and South Wales. The core Great Western Main Line runs from London Paddington to Temple Meads railway station in Bristol. A major branch of the Great...

 between Paddington and Airport Junction. A flying junction
Flying junction
A flying junction or flyover is a railway junction at which one or more diverging or converging tracks in a multiple-track route cross other tracks on the route by bridge to avoid conflict with other train movements. A more technical term is "grade-separated junction"...

 known as Stockley Flyover was constructed to connect the tunnel to the GWML fast lines.

On 21 October 1994 one of the partially-constructed tunnels carrying the line into the Terminal 1,2,3 complex collapsed with only minutes 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
Balfour Beatty
Balfour Beatty plc is a British construction, engineering, military housing, rail and investment services company. It is one of the largest construction companies in the UK, and the 15th largest in the world...

, was found guilty of negligence in February 1999 and fined £1.2 million. The collapse had far-reaching consequences, since it also held up construction of the extended Jubilee Line
Jubilee Line
The Jubilee line is a line on the London Underground , in the United Kingdom. It was built in two major sections—initially to Charing Cross, in central London, and later extended, in 1999, to Stratford, in east London. The later stations are larger and have special safety features, both aspects...

 of the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

, 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
Heathrow Junction railway station
Heathrow Junction was a short-lived railway station built to serve London Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom.Between 1988 and 1998, the Heathrow Express shuttle service was built to connect Paddington station to Heathrow Airport. A new spur was built from the existing Great Western Railway...

, where a coach took passengers the rest of the way. The full service opened on 23 June 1998.

Route


The service runs along the Great Western Main Line
Great Western Main Line
The Great Western Main Line is a main line railway in Great Britain that runs westwards from London Paddington station to the west of England and South Wales. The core Great Western Main Line runs from London Paddington to Temple Meads railway station in Bristol. A major branch of the Great...

 from Paddington to Airport Junction (Network Rail
Network Rail
Network Rail is the government-created owner and operator of most of the rail infrastructure in Great Britain .; it is not responsible for railway infrastructure in Northern Ireland...

 owned infrastructure). The line from Airport Junction to the airport terminals is owned by BAA but maintained on their behalf by Network Rail. The line is electrified
Railway electrification in Great Britain
Railway electrification in Great Britain started towards of the 19th century. A great range of voltages have been used in the intervening period using both overhead lines and third rails, however the most common standard for mainline services is now 25 kV AC using overhead lines and the...

 at 25 kV AC
25 kV AC
The 25 kV Alternating current railway electrification system is commonly used in railways worldwide, especially for high-speed rail.-Overview:This electrification system is ideal for railways that cover long distances and/or carry heavy traffic...

 overhead and uses Automatic Train Protection
Automatic Train Protection
Automatic Train Protection in Great Britain refers to either of two implementations of a train protection system installed in some trains in order to help prevent collisions through a driver's failure to observe a signal or speed restriction...

 (ATP). The controlling signalbox for the entire route is Slough (New) IECC
Integrated Electronic control centre
The Integrated Electronic Control Centre was developed in the late 1980s by the British Rail Research Division for UK-based railway signalling centres, although variations exist around the world...

.

Stations

Station Image Time
Paddington  0 mins
Heathrow Central  15 mins
Heathrow Terminal 5
Heathrow Terminal 5 station
Heathrow Terminal 5 station is a shared railway station at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 which was opened on 27 March 2008. It was designed by architects HOK International in conjunction with Rogers, Stirk, Harbour & Partners....

 
21 mins

Current fleet

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
 mph   km/h 
Class 332
British Rail Class 332
The British Rail Class 332 is the type of electric multiple unit train used on the Heathrow Express between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport.-Description:The fleet was built in 1997-1998 by Siemens and CAF at the latter’s factory in Zaragoza, Spain...

electric multiple unit
Electric multiple unit
An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages...

100 160 14 London Paddington
Paddington station
Paddington railway station, also known as London Paddington, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex.The site is a historic one, having served as the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the current mainline station dates...

 - Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

1998
Class 360
British Rail Class 360
The British Rail Class 360 electric multiple units were built by Siemens in two sub-types from 2002-2003 and 2004-2005. These units are part of the Siemens Desiro family.The Siemens "Desiro UK" family also includes units of Classes 185, 350, 380, 444 and 450....

electric multiple unit
Electric multiple unit
An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages...

100 161 1 Heathrow Central - Heathrow Terminal 4 2002–2003

See also


  • Heathrow Connect
    Heathrow Connect
    Heathrow Connect is a train operating company in London provided jointly by Heathrow Express and First Great Western, connecting Heathrow Airport with station. The service follows the same route as the Heathrow Express service but serves intermediate stations en route, thus connecting several...

  • Gatwick Express
    Gatwick Express
    Gatwick Express is the name given to the frequent rail shuttle service between Victoria station in London and Gatwick Airport in South East England, operated by the Southern franchise...

  • Stansted Express
    Stansted Express
    Stansted Express is a sub-brand of National Express East Anglia. It is the direct train service linking central London to Stansted Airport, one of London's major air hubs...

  • First Great Western
    First Great Western
    First Great Western is the operating name of First Greater Western Ltd, a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup that serves Greater London, the South East, South West and West Midlands regions of England, and South Wales....

  • Airport rail link
    Airport rail link
    An airport rail link is a service providing passenger rail transport from an airport to a nearby city; by mainline- or commuter trains, rapid transit, people mover or light rail...


External links