Heathrow Express - A

Heathrow Express - A
Heathrow Express is a high-frequency airport rail link operating between London Heathrow Airport and London Paddington. Opened in 1998, trains run non-stop, with a journey time of 15 minutes.
The service is operated jointly by Great Western Railway and Heathrow Express Operating Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Heathrow Airport Holdings.
Heathrow Express History
Heathrow Express was planned as a joint venture between the British Airports Authority (BAA) and British Rail, but was taken over fully by the former following the privatisation of British Rail.
Construction began in 1993. The principal works were two 6.8 km (4.2 miles) single-bore tunnels (including eight escape shafts) and underground stations at Heathrow Central and Terminal 4. Electrification of the Great Western Main Line (GWML) between Paddington and Airport Junction, where the new line diverged from the GWML, was also required.
A flying junction known as 'Stockley Flyover' was constructed to connect the tunnel to the GWML fast lines. During construction, a notable tunnel collapse occurred including the subsidence of a surface building, leading to a six-month delay in opening and additional costs of around £150 million.
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.
Full service to Heathrow Central and Terminal 4 opened on 23 June 1998, with an opening by Prime Minister Tony Blair.
From 1999 to 2003, a check-in service was provided at Paddington, allowing Heathrow Express passengers to check in and drop off their luggage prior to flights, which was similar to the service currently provided on Hong Kong's Airport Express.
Checked baggage was transported to the airport by using the luggage space in the westbound first carriage. This service was withdrawn due to low usage and high cost of operation.
In June 2005, Heathrow Express began jointly providing a new Heathrow Connect service, which saw a new twice-hourly stopping service on the same route between Paddington and Heathrow using Class 360 EMUs from the Siemens Desiro family. Heathrow Airport Holdings had provided the on-board staff through Heathrow Express as part of the contract.
This continued until May 2018, when Heathrow Connect was 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.
In August 2018, Great Western Railway (GWR) took over the operation of Heathrow Express as part of a new management contract.
Heathrow Airport continues to be responsible for commercial aspects of the service, including marketing, ticket pricing and revenue management, while GWR are now responsible for operations.
Heathrow Express Overview
Heathrow Express Franchise(s): Open access operator
Not subject to franchising
23 June 1998 – 2028
Heathrow Express Main Route(s): London Paddington – Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Express Other Route(s): None
Heathrow Express Fleet Size: 12 Class 387
Heathrow Express Stations Called At: 3
Heathrow Express Stations Operated: 3
Heathrow Express Parent Company: Heathrow Airport Holdings
Heathrow Express Reporting mark: HX
Heathrow Express Technical Length: 26.285 km (16.333 mi)
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