At last …. we have a date for direct Elizabeth Line services from Central London to Heathrow.
Although the Elizabeth Line initially opened in May it was on a split service. Trains are currently running through the central core terminating at Paddington, where you have to change platforms.
This was the result of the project effectively connecting three separate railways – the overground Western portions, the new, tunnelled central section and the existing overground Eastern railway – and all of the necessary signalling work running late.
This isn’t great for connections to Heathrow, as you have to make your way from the underground station up to the ground-level platforms at Paddington in the main concourse. It obviously isn’t ideal, particularly if you are travelling with luggage, and increases your overall journey time.
This is about to end. From 6th November, Transport for London is completing the connection from East to West so you no longer have to change platforms. A map is below. It means you will now be able to catch a train from Heathrow and continue into central London and even go as far as Abbey Wood or Shenfield (via a same-platform train change).
The railway will also start operations on Sundays, which was previously not the case due to the need to carve out time for the signalling work
There is more good news. In addition to through-running trains, TFL will also increase the service to 22 trains per hour during peak times (10 more than at present) and 16 during off peak times. This means there will be a train at least every four minutes in the central section, and every three minutes at peak times.
When it comes to Heathrow, there will be six trains per hour. All six will serve Terminals 2 & 3, whilst four will continue on to Terminal 4. Just two trains per hour – one every 30 minutes – will operate to Terminal 5.
This is a blow to British Airways although better than planned given that running to Terminal 5 was never part of the original plan for Crossrail. Still, with many more passengers travelling from Terminal 5 versus Terminal 4 it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense.
A trip from Heathrow to Farringdon will take between 36 and 40 minutes and cost between £10.70 and £12.70. This is thanks to a £7.20 ‘Heathrow premium’ charge that TFL is charging over Piccadilly Line fares, in part to pay for access to Heathrow’s rail tunnels which are owned by the airport. It is worth adding a Railcard to your Oyster Card, if you have one, to get a 33% discount on off-peak fares.
We look forward to giving it a go, given that the HfP office is only a couple of minutes walk from the Moorgate / Liverpool Street Crossrail station.