Heathrow Connect - A

Heathrow Connect - A
Heathrow Connect was a train service in London provided jointly by Heathrow Express and Great Western Railway (GWR), between Paddington station and Heathrow Airport. The service followed the same route as the non-stop Heathrow Express service but called at certain intermediate stations, connecting several locations in West London with each other, the airport, and Central London.
It ran every half-hour throughout the day and evening. The service was launched on 12 June 2005 and ceased on 19 May 2018, when it was absorbed into the TfL Rail concession, in advance of becoming part of the Elizabeth line once it opened on 24 May 2022.
Heathrow Connect History
In the late 1990s, British Airports Authority (BAA) built an airport rail link from Heathrow Airport to London Paddington station. This opened in June 1998, with non-stop Heathrow Express trains taking just 15 minutes between Heathrow and Paddington.
In 2004, First Great Western Link and BAA (the operators of Heathrow Express) planned a stopping service between Heathrow and Paddington, using train paths previously occupied by stopping services from Slough. BAA spent £35 million on the project, including the purchase of five new Siemens Desiro Class 360 trains.
In June 2005, the Heathrow Connect branded stopping service between Heathrow and Paddington was launched. Although cheaper than Heathrow Express, the journey took around 25 minutes from Paddington, and ran less frequently.
One benefit of the new service was that residents of West London (including airport staff) could reach the airport without needing to backtrack via Paddington. Trains were owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings through Heathrow Express.
From the opening of Heathrow Terminal 5 in 2008, Heathrow Connect provided a shuttle service between Heathrow Central and Terminal 4 to connect with Heathrow Express.
In May 2018, Heathrow Connect service were absorbed into TfL Rail ahead of the new Crossrail project. In May 2022, TfL Rail services were rebranded as the Elizabeth line, with through trains running through central London from November 2022. Heathrow Express services will continue to terminate at London Paddington.
Heathrow Connect Company
Heathrow Connect Structure
Heathrow Connect had a complex operating structure: Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly BAA) supplied the rolling stock and on-board staff through its Heathrow Express subsidiary, and owned the track from Airport Junction to the terminals. GWR collected the revenue for journeys between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington, while Heathrow Airport Holdings collected the revenue for journeys between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow.
Heathrow Connect Fares
Fares between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington were the same as for GWR services, but the single fare between Hayes and Heathrow was £6.30 as of January 2018. Oyster cards, Travelcards and Freedom Passes were not valid between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow, but could be used throughout the rest of the route. When the service was first introduced in 2005, the fare for the 3-mile (4.8 km) journey from Hayes to Heathrow was £6, which at £2 per mile made it one of the most expensive train journeys in the world.
The service was designed principally for the use of airport staff and West London residents for travel to Heathrow or Paddington. With a staff ID card, discounted fares were available for the journey between Hayes and Heathrow.
Heathrow Connect was marketed as a cheaper way to reach Paddington from Heathrow and vice versa, with a single fare of £10.30 (less than half the Heathrow Express fare, but almost double the price of a London Underground journey) and a journey time of 25 minutes against the Express time of 15 minutes. Passengers were also permitted to use their Railcards to access discounts.
Originally it was not intended to be used as a cheaper (but slower) alternative to the Heathrow Express service from Paddington to Heathrow: every Connect service was overtaken by an Express service en route, and at Paddington trains were originally advertised on departure boards as running to Hayes & Harlington only. Standard-class travel between Heathrow Airport terminals was free, and this included Heathrow Connect services.
Heathrow Connect Overview
Heathrow Connect Franchise(s):
Open access operator
Not subject to franchising
12 June 2005 - 19 May 2018
Heathrow Connect Main Route(s):
London Paddington – Heathrow Airport terminal 4
Heathrow Connect Fleet Size: 5 Class 360s
Heathrow Connect Stations Called At: 8
Heathrow Connect Parent Company:
Heathrow Airport Holdings
First Great Western
Heathrow Connect Reporting Mark: HC
Heathrow Connect Successor: TfL Rail
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