Heathrow Connect

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Heathrow Connect
360204 at Ealing Broadway.jpg
Franchise(s) Open access operator
Not subject to franchising
12 June 2005 - 19 May 2018
Main route(s) London PaddingtonHeathrow Airport
Other route(s) None
Fleet size 5 Class 360 sets
Stations called at 8 (none operated)
National Rail abbreviation HC
Parent company Heathrow Airport Holdings
& FirstGroup
Website heathrowconnect.com

Heathrow Connect was a train service in London provided jointly by Heathrow Express and Great Western Railway (GWR), between Heathrow Airport and Paddington station. 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 launched on 12 June 2005 and ran until 20 May 2018, when it was absorbed into the TfL Rail franchise,[1] ahead of becoming part of the Elizabeth line in autumn 2019.



Heathrow Connect had a complex operating structure. The rolling stock and on-board staff were supplied by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly BAA) through the Heathrow Express company. For the portion of the journey between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington, these were leased to GWR and the service is classed as being "operated" by the latter. Between Hayes & Harlington and Airport Junction, the service operated using open-access rights obtained by Heathrow Express.[2] Beyond Airport Junction, the track is owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings.


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 and 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.[3]

The service was designed principally for the use of airport staff and West London residents for travel to Heathrow or Paddington.[citation needed] With a staff ID card, discounted fares are 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 is free, and this included Heathrow Connect services.



Heathrow Connect used the Relief Lines of the Great Western Main Line between Airport Junction and Paddington, replacing some stopping services operated by the former First Great Western Link. As part of the original Heathrow Express project, these lines were electrified at 25 kV AC overhead as a diversionary route, and feature Automatic Train Protection. An additional flyover bridge was built in 2008 as part of Crossrail works to enable trains to enter or leave the airport spur without crossing any of the Great Western Main Line tracks.[4]

The service pattern, as of October 2016, was as follows:

Rolling stock

Heathrow Connect uses five-car Class 360/2 electric multiple-unit trains built by Siemens Mobility in Germany. These were originally built as Class 360 four-car units but an extra coach was added when BAA bought them.

Class Image Type Top speed Quantity Number Carriages Seat Layout Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 360/2 Desiro Hugh llewelyn 360 201 (6341449982).jpg electric multiple unit 100 161 5 360201-360205 5 2+3 London Paddington – Heathrow Terminal 5 2004–2005
Class 360 Heathrow Connect Diagram.PNG

Replacement with TfL Rail

TfL Rail Roundel

On 20 May 2018, TfL Rail took over the services operated by Heathrow Connect as a precursor to the full opening of the Elizabeth line.[6][7] Fares on the line are now integrated into the TfL fare scheme, and therefore match the fare scheme of London Underground services,[8] with the exception of a premium for single journeys to and from Heathrow using Pay As You Go (Oyster and contactless). Passengers are able to use Oyster cards, Travelcards and Freedom Passes to travel between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow.

From December 2019 the service will be re-branded as the Elizabeth line and train paths will be extended through the new tunnels at Paddington through Central London, calling at stations such as Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf. When the line opens fully, eastbound trains from Heathrow will terminate at Shenfield or Abbey Wood.[6]

TfL Rail had originally planned to replace the existing Class 360 units with Class 345s, but due to delays with the signalling system in the Heathrow Airport tunnels and late delivery of Class 345 units, a contingency plan has been implemented. The Class 360s will continue to be used between London Paddington and Heathrow, supplemented by two Class 345 trains per hour running between London Paddington and the extended bay platform at Hayes & Harlington,[9] until the Class 360s can be fully replaced.


  1. ^ "Mayor of London announces TfL fares will apply to Elizabeth Line". Transport for London. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  2. ^ Greater Western franchise ITT, page 69
  3. ^ "Heathrow ... at a price". The Observer. London. 12 June 2005. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  4. ^ "Crossrail Airport Junction Information Paper" (PDF). 10 January 2008.
  5. ^ a b Heathrow Connect - Train Times
  6. ^ a b "Elizabeth line". Transport for London. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  7. ^ "TfL Rail". Transport for London. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  8. ^ https://www.oyster-rail.org.uk/2018/03/elizabeth-line-fares-announced/
  9. ^ Crossrail Class 345 contingency application

External links

Media related to Heathrow Connect at Wikimedia Commons

  • Official website
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