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Using the Heathrow Express

Heathrow ExpressThe Heathrow Express bills itself as the fastest way from the airport into the centre of London, and, as long as you want to go to Paddington, it is. It is a train service that takes you directly from the airport to London Paddington station.


The service was started in 1998, and today carries around 16,000 passengers a day. It is a fast, direct train that reaches Heathrow in just 15 minutes for Terminals 1 and 3, 25 minutes for Terminal 4, and 21 minutes for Terminal 5. The Heathrow Express has carried more than 60 million people since it started in service. 


On board the train there is free wireless internet coverage, as well as live Sky international and domestic news. These are found on Express TV on board the train. This also includes weather information and entertainment clips, as well as travel information about destinations and attractions. All trains are air conditioned and have uninterrupted mobile phone coverage for the duration of the journey.


The trains are level with the platforms at both ends, so that loading and unloading luggage is easy, and the carriages have been designed with a lot of storage space for luggage. There are dedicated areas of the train for wheelchair users. There is a Quiet Zone carriage in which mobile phones should not be used, and on which the Express TV system is turned off.


The first train in the morning leaves at 5:10, and the average journey time is 15 minutes. Terminal 4 is reached via a free transfer system which takes passengers from the rail station for Terminals 1 and 3 to Heathrow Terminal 4, so if you are travelling into or out of Terminal 4 you should assume 25 minutes to and from Paddington. There are dedicated flight information boards at Paddington station, to allow you to check the running of your flight before you leave London.


Whilst the Heathrow Express remains perhaps the most convenient and fastest way to get to Paddington, if you do not have too much luggage or you actually wish to get somewhere other than Paddington it might be worth examining the alternatives. There are suburban train services that also run between Paddington and Heathrow. These will not have enough space for luggage or carriages that are as comfortable, and they will not run as fast, but they are significantly cheaper.


Also cheaper is the Tube. The Piccadilly Line runs from Heathrow Airport all the way through London. Although this means getting your bags up and down some escalators it might be well worth considering if your ultimate destination is close to the Piccadilly Line, as this could save you a long time in travel from Paddington at the other end.


The Heathrow Express is a business-oriented service, providing comfortable, fast, convenient travel at a premium price. If you have little time or many bags then the Heathrow Express is well worth exploring as it might be the ideal form of transport for your trip.