Major Crossrail changes as Terminal 5 gets included – and HEx joins Oyster PAYG

Crossrail (aka the Elizabeth Line) runs directly past our office here at Moorgate and we have the daily joy of finding our way through the maze of closed streets.  My wife has it even worse – her office, which used to overlook the park which was Finsbury Circus, has overlooked a massive tunnelling site for the last five years.

What made all this disruption worse was the knowledge that Crossrail was not going to serve Heathrow Terminal 5.  The original plans, which you can see below, have trains branching off the mainline to Terminal 2/3 and then on to Terminal 4:

Crossrail map 2

Terminal 5 was going to require a change of train at Terminal 4 – despite the fact that Terminal 5 actually has an unused train station built into it.  I thought this was quite a serious business risk for British Airways, since a flight from Terminal 2 suddenly looked a lot more attractive than a flight from Terminal 5.

Heathrow announced yesterday that there has been a major last minute rethink.

Starting in 2019, there will be two Crossrail trains per hour running to Terminal 5.

In total, there will be 22 trains per hour from Central London to the airport.  In theory we could make it in 35 minutes from our office to Terminal 5.  This will comprise:

6 Piccadilly Line trains serving Terminals 2/3 and Terminal 4

6 Piccadilly Line trains serving Terminal 5 and Terminals 2/3

4 Elizabeth Line trains serving Terminals 2/3 and Terminal 4

2 Elizabeth Line trains serving Terminals 2/3 and Terminal 5

4 Heathrow Express serving Terminals 2/3 and Terminal 5

Discussions are underway on ways of creating additional train paths to allow a total of four Crossrail trains per hour to serve Terminal 5.  This is unlikely to be solved in the short term, however.

In other Heathrow rail news …..

From March 2018, Heathrow Express will become part of the Oyster payment system.  Anyone with a pay-as-you-go Oyster card will be able to touch in at Paddington or Heathrow.  You will also be able to pay using a contactless credit or debit card.

Don’t get too excited – fares aren’t going to get any cheaper.  You just won’t need to fiddle around with your credit card at the ticket machines.

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  1. Richard says:

    I think this is wrong Re. Oyster – I believe oyster will work for Heathrow connect by 2018 (which cross rail will replace), but Heathrow express will continue to need a ticket purchased

    • Quark999 says:

      Yes, I don’t think Heathrow EXPRESS will gain Oyster, but Heathrow CONNECT. This is because next year will see phase 2 of Crossrail, which is TFL taking over the Connect Service from GWR, just like has happened on the Eastern Branch. Both will continue to be known as “TFL Rail” until the tunnel opens. And because they are TFL services you can use Oyster on them. HEx will remain Heathrow’s for a good while longer.

  2. Matthew Dickinson says:

    From the Heathrow press release:

    “From May 2018, new ticket readers will be installed at Heathrow, meaning passengers using Heathrow Express and TfL Rail between Paddington and Heathrow will be able to use pay as you go Oyster or a contactless device. The new ways to pay for journeys to the airport will mean more convenience and flexibility for passengers. Passengers travelling on the Heathrow Express will benefit from easier on-the-day ticketing and can still purchase tickets in advance online from as little as £5.50”.