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Review: How easy is taking the Elizabeth Line from Heathrow to central London?

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On Sunday, Transport for London finally started running direct Elizabeth Line services from Heathrow and Reading all the way to Abbey Wood and Shenfield.

This means the ‘swap from the underground Elizabeth Line platform to the above ground Elizabeth Line platform’ is a thing of the past – and should make getting to and from Heathrow a lot easier for many people.

As it happens, I was on my way back from Tampa after the Virgin Atlantic A330neo inaugural on Sunday night and needed to get home on Monday morning, so I thought I would see what it’s like.

I’ll be up front here – it is reassuringly boring ….

Elizabeth Line Crossrail roundel

After a quick breakfast in the Virgin Atlantic Revivals arrivals lounge at Heathrow (review here) I made my way down to the Heathrow T2 & T3 train station downstairs. The platforms are really deep, which means you either have to wait for the bizarrely slow lifts or take multiple escalators down.

I opted for the former as I had a larger suitcase with me. This turned out to be a mistake, as I ended up missing an Elizabeth Line train by about 10 seconds. I had to wait 15 minutes for the next one, which was slightly frustrating.

I’m not sure where the train had come from (either T4 or T5) but it was fairly empty and I managed to get a seat. Unlike Heathrow Express trains there are no luggage storage racks, so you need to hold on to your suitcase if it has spinner wheels. I always sit in a group of four seats which helps to stop it rolling around quite so much!

The train did start to fill up as we headed towards central London but it was never busy with plenty of seating always available.

Just before Paddington, we ended up waiting for a couple of minutes before entering the central tunnels as apparently we were ahead of schedule. At the moment, the Elizabeth Line and National Rail schedules are not fully aligned so the final service pattern might be a bit tighter come next Spring.

I stayed on for a few more stops until I got off at Liverpool Street. If I was going into the office I would have taken the short walk from here, but with Rob and Sinead out at World Travel Market I headed home. I changed to the Northern Line via the station connection to Moorgate. In total, it took about 45 minutes from Heathrow to this point.

Interestingly, despite the multiple stops, it is now showing via Citymapper as one of the fastest options home for me. It seems to be often as fast (or even faster) than the Heathrow Express to Paddington before changing onto a longer tube journey. It is also far more pleasant of course, as I can spend more time in the spacious, air conditioned Elizabeth Line trains.

In total, my journey took just under an hour plus the short walk from the tube station to my flat. It cost £12.80, which would be reduced to £8.50 with a Railcard. It’s good to have another option for getting to Heathrow.

Comments (219)

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  • BJ says:

    Do you separate your domestic waste for recycling? I use down escalators and will continue to do so! That doesn’t mean we should not look for solutions to problems. It has nothing to do with virtue signalling and everything to do with common sense. Obviiusly it is not going to be practical or reasonable to pull the plug on every down escalator but if there are sufficient numbers where it does make a difference then ut’s worth considering. Perhaps it just means that in new planning applications down escalators should not be a thing anymore. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s materials to build planes, fuels to fly them, escalators in airports or whatevever, progress is good. I don’t get the mindset of those that look first for reasons not to do something as opposed to focussing first on the good reasons why we should.

    • StanTheMan says:

      How about a huge see-saw?? You wait for 20 people to get to the platform at the top, then 19 people to get to the lower platform who need to come up……. Then all stand still and wait…….

    • Alistair Reid says:

      I am always amazed when I see people with bags on wheels rolling around on public transport.
      I never have that problem and am surprised that you as a very frequent flier have not worked out the solution.
      You will have a handle on the side of your bag so you lay it on its side with wheels pointing in whatever direction you choose.
      Problem solved.

  • Andy says:

    One day they might actually get around to building the Western Rail Link so we don’t have to get on a bus at Reading!

  • Thywillbedone says:

    Reading through the latter parts of this thread was the worst decision I made today …reminder that Twitter is the place to argue a point ad nauseum in the futile belief that you will eventually persuade someone with precisely the opposite view to change his/her mind.

    • Rich says:

      The negativity started early on this one. LHR has to be one of the world’s best served airports by public rail transport with gazillions being spent on it. The Elizabeth Line is world class, Heathrow Express is fine, as is the Tube, take your pick. Old Oak Common station will make it quick and easy to get to LHR from some northern cities by train when it opens. All that is needed now is the western link tunnel.

      Stay positive folks.

  • Nigel Keya says:

    8 billion people.

    We are too many?

  • Yorkshire rich says:

    Some first world comments on this thread, and extreme negativity.

    Can we just get the BA flight back from lBA to LHR. Will solve everything for me, thanks.

  • Max says:

    Paper ticket seems to be cheaper than using oyster/contactless, according to National Rail enquiries.

  • IslandDweller says:

    Max. A paper ticket to where? Within London (for those with no railcard), a paper ticket is always more expensive

  • ADS says:

    “I opted for the former as I had a larger suitcase with me”

    weren’t you only away for a few days ?
    how many different swimwear do you need ?!

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