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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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  • Miv Tucker says:

    Who are Rob and Sinead? I think we should be told; or are we just supposed to know?

  • Mark says:

    Day 4 and the early through trains to LHR cancelled again.

  • ianM says:

    Took the EL from T5 yesterday, HEX to central then waited 7 minutes for the Elizabeth line train to Ealing Broadway, very spacious smooth and clean. Good service

    • Londonsteve says:

      I followed the same route as you. I needed to get to north London and took a bus from Ealing Broadway. The conclusion I came to is the EL is relatively slow and relatively expensive to and from Heathrow (due to the Heathrow tunnel surcharge), it only starts to make sense if you’re heading somewhere close to an EL station in central London or to the likes of Canary Wharf and other eastern stations where previously your journey would have been much slower and required multiple changes. For these passengers it’s a game changer and probably worth the surcharge. The train is quite slow to get to Paddington, isn’t nearly as frequent as the tube and is much more expensive so I’ll be giving it a miss in the future as far as Heathrow trips are concerned.

  • Maryna says:

    I am so annoyed with service.So slow and overpriced.Everyday something.Strike or delay.I would better use my bicycle than that crap

  • Alex says:

    It’s the worst line ever for the money you will have to pay for it. Nearly everyday since opening something is going on with the line being faulty, running slow and strikes nearly every week. I mean it is a completely brand new line and it already has more strikes than other tubes. Between Paddington and Hayes you are better taking the journey on the foot as the train is dragging from a stop to another. It would definetely be my last option of travelling.

  • Gemma says:

    Commute to liverpool street used to be 45 min – 1 hour from Romford, now at least and hour or over – well done TFL

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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