Heathrow Connect

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Heathrow Connect
360204 at Ealing Broadway.jpg
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 www.heathrowconnect.com

Heathrow Connect is a train service in London provided jointly by Heathrow Express and Great Western Railway (GWR), between Heathrow Airport and Paddington station. The service follows the same route as the non-stop Heathrow Express service but calls at certain intermediate stations, connecting several locations in west London with each other, the airport, and Central London. It runs every half-hour throughout the day and evening. The service launched on 12 June 2005. In May 2018, it will be absorbed into the TfL Rail franchise.[1]



Heathrow Connect has a complex operating structure. The rolling stock and on-board staff are supplied by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly BAA) through the Heathrow Express company. For the portion of the journey between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington, these are leased to GWR 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.[2] Beyond Airport Junction the track is owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings.


Fares between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington are the same as for GWR services, but the single fare between Hayes and Heathrow is £6.20 as of October 2016. Oyster cards, Travelcards and Freedom Passes are not valid between Hayes and 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-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.

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.

Heathrow Connect is marketed as a cheaper way to reach Paddington from Heathrow and vice versa, with a single fare of £10.10 (slightly less than half the Heathrow Express fare) and a journey time of 25 minutes against the Express time of 15 minutes. Passengers can also use their Railcards to access discounts.

Standard-class travel between Heathrow Airport terminals is free.



Heathrow area rail services
Crossrail (under construction)
London Underground Circle line (London Underground)Hammersmith & City LineBakerloo LineCircle line (London Underground)District Line
0 Paddington enlarge… National Rail London Underground
Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Express
Acton Main Line starts 2019
London Underground Central line (London Underground)District Line
5⅝ Ealing Broadway National Rail London Underground
West Ealing National Rail
Hanwell National Rail
9 Southall National Rail
10⅞ Hayes & Harlington National Rail
London Underground Piccadilly Line
11⅛ Airport Junction
Great Western Main Line
to Slough and Reading
Hatton Cross London Underground
Heathrow Junction closed 1998
London Heathrow Airport Heathrow Airport:
Terminal 4London Underground Airport interchange
16⅜ Terminal 4(
shuttle from
Heathrow C.
) Airport interchange
Terminals 2 & 3 London Underground BSicon BUS.svg Airport interchange
14½ Heathrow Central BSicon BUS.svg Airport interchange
16¼ Terminal 5 London Underground BSicon BUS.svg Airport interchange
Western Rail Approach (proposed)

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.[citation needed] As part of Crossrail works, a new flyover is being rebuilt to overcome these limitations. The new flyover will allow Heathrow Connect trains returning from the airport, to reach the 'up' track (relief line towards London), without crossing the 'down' track (relief line towards Reading).[citation needed] At present, Heathrow Connect trains traveling towards the airport, may have to wait at Hayes & Harlington for either Heathrow Express or Connect trains to use the flyover returning from the airport.

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

  • Monday-Saturday, Heathrow Connect services run half-hourly between Paddington and Heathrow Central (for terminals 2 & 3), stopping at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall and Hayes & Harlington. In early mornings and late evenings, some Heathrow Connect services are extended beyond Heathrow Central to either Terminal 4 or Terminal 5. There is also one late-evening London-bound service on Mondays-Thursdays that stops at Acton Main Line.[4]
  • On Sundays, all Heathrow Connect services are extended to Terminal 4, but do not call at West Ealing or Hanwell. Service frequency is also reduced from half-hourly to hourly.[4]

Heathrow Connect will be absorbed into the TfL Rail franchise in May 2018.[1] The TfL Rail franchise will extend current train paths through a central London tunnel as services to Shenfield and Abbey Wood when it is rebranded as the Elizabeth line in December 2018.[5]

Rolling stock[edit]

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. When BAA bought these units, an extra coach was added to make them five-car units.

Class Image Type Top speed Quantity Number 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 2+3 London Paddington – Heathrow Terminal 5 2004–2005
Class 360 Heathrow Connect Diagram.PNG


From May 2018, TfL Rail trains will replace all Heathrow Connect trains between London Paddington and Heathrow terminals 2, 3 and 4. From December 2019, all services will run through the new tunnels at Paddington to central London destinations including Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf, as part of the Elizabeth line.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Elizabeth line". Transport for London. Retrieved 2017-04-28. 
  2. ^ Greater Western franchise ITT, page 69
  3. ^ "Heathrow ... at a price". The Observer. London. 12 June 2005. Retrieved 26 October 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Heathrow Connect - Train Times
  5. ^ "TfL Rail". Transport for London. Retrieved 2017-04-28. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Heathrow Connect at Wikimedia Commons