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Heathrow Connect
Heathrow connect logo.PNG
360205 at Westbourne Park.jpg
Franchise(s): Not subject to franchising
service began 12 June 2005
Main route(s): London Paddington - Heathrow Airport
Other route(s): None
Fleet size: 5 Class 360 sets
Stations called at: 8 (none operated)
National Rail abbreviation: HC
Parent company: BAA Ltd/First Great Western
Web site:

Heathrow Connect is a train service in London provided jointly by Heathrow Express and First Great Western, connecting Heathrow Airport with Paddington station. The service follows the same route as the Heathrow Express service but serves intermediate stations en route, thus connecting several locations in West London with each other, the airport, and Central London. It normally leaves from Platform 12 at Paddington, with a departure every 30 minutes.

The service, launched on 12 June 2005, uses 5-coach Class 360/2 electric multiple-unit trains built by Siemens in Germany. These were originally built as Class 350's 4-coach units. Built by Siemens as Demostrators to the UK and fitted with Gangway Cabs. When BAA bought these units, an extra coach was added to make them a 5-car unit. Heathrow Connect calls at Heathrow Central station (Terminals 1, 2, 3) and terminates at Heathrow Terminal 4. Only Heathrow Express and London Underground services serve the new Heathrow Terminal 5 station.



Fares between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington are the same as for First Great Western services, but the single fare between Hayes and Heathrow is £4.90. Travelcards and Freedom Passes are not valid between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow, but can be used throughout the rest of the route. When the service was first introduced in 2005, the fare for the 3 miles (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[1].

The service was designed principally for the use of BAA staff and locals from West London for travel to Heathrow. With a staff ID card, discounted fares are available for the journey between Hayes and Heathrow.

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 is overtaken by an Express service en route, and at Paddington trains were originally advertised on departure boards as running to Hayes & Harlington only.

Now, however, Heathrow Connect is being marketed as a much cheaper way to reach Paddington from Heathrow and vice versa, with a single fare of £7.90 (under half the Heathrow Express fare) and a journey time of 25 minutes against the Express time of 15 minutes.


Because the service is provided as a joint venture between First Great Western and Heathrow Express and is not subject to the usual franchising specifications it is not obliged to provide performance statistics.


Siemens Class 360/2 at London Paddington, unusually at the Heathrow Express platform.
  Heathrow area rail services
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Stop on track Straight track
West Ealing (closed Sundays)
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Hanwell (closed Sundays)
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Hayes & Harlington
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Great Western Main Line
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Bus station
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Terminal 4 Heathrow Connect
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Ashford (Surrey)
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All Heathrow stations have step-free access.
There is free transfer between Heathrow terminals
on Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect.

The service uses 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. These lines were electrified as part of the original Heathrow Express project as a diversionary route. The lines are electrified at 25 kV AC overhead and feature Automatic Train Protection.

To access the airport spur without crossing the Main Lines, trains in both directions use the flyover track originally built for Heathrow Express trains heading towards Paddington. This arrangement means Heathrow Connect trains to the airport use the flyover in the opposite direction to normal operation, and trains from Heathrow must cross both slow lines on the flat. If Crossrail goes ahead, the flyover will be rebuilt to overcome these limitations.

Heathrow Connect services run from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 4 every 30 minutes 7 days a week. A dedicated Heathrow Connect unit also provides a shuttle service between Terminal 4 and Heathrow Central, thereby maintaining a 15-minute frequency between the terminals. This may also be used free of charge for passengers changing terminals at Heathrow.

Heathrow Connect will be absorbed into the Crossrail service when the latter starts, with the train paths currently used extended as services to Shenfield and Abbey Wood.[2]


The interior aboard a Siemens Class 360/2 Desiro EMU.

Heathrow Connect has a complex operating structure. The rolling stock and driving staff are supplied by BAA through the Heathrow Express company. Conductors are supplied through a company called ICTS (UK) Ltd.[3] For the portion of the journey between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington, these are leased to First Great Western and the service is classed as being "operated" by the latter. Between Hayes & Harlington and Airport Junction, it runs using open-access rights obtained by Heathrow Express.[4] Beyond Airport Junction the track is owned by BAA.

Rolling stock


Current fleet

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 360 Desiro 360204 at Royal Oak.JPG electric multiple unit 100 161 5 London Paddington - Heathrow Airport 2002 - 2003

Class 360 Heathrow Connect Diagram.PNG


External links


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