London's Crossrail line is a new way to get to Heathrow Airport

London's Crossrail line is a new way to get to Heathrow Airport

London's new Crossrail tube service, to be formally known as the Elizabeth Line, will provide a new way for travellers to zip between Heathrow Airport and the city – but problems with a new signalling system mean you'll need to wait a few more months before you can enjoy those swish new trains.

Transport for London's original intent was for a section of the Crossrail between Paddington and Heathrow to open in May, providing some sharp competition for the airport-run Heathrow Express.

That journey would have taken 25 minutes, with only six stops between Paddington's underground station and Heathrow, where all trains will service Terminals 2 and 4 before branching off to either T4 or T5.

However, it turned out that the shiny new Crossrail carriages designed for the £14.8bn (A$27bn) project didn't communicate well with the signalling gear inside the Heathrow tunnels. Ooops.

Transport for London has now pushed back the opening of the full Paddington-Heathrow line to Q3, and in the meantime will continue to run the Heathrow Connect service (which it will take over from May 20) twice an hour.

The Heathrow Connect trains will accept Oyster cards and contactless tap-and-go cards and even compatible smartphones as of May 20.

Once the signalling kinks are ironed out later this year, the Heathrow Connect service will be axed in favour of a full Crossrail service running four of the new trainsets an hour from Paddington, which is expected to lift to six trains per hour – providing a convenient service every ten minutes – in 2019.

Each train will feature free WiFi and climate-controlled air conditioning.

Crossrail or Elizabeth Line trips to and from Heathrow will cost attract an 'airport premium' compared to the regular zone-based London underground, however.

Elizabeth Line passengers travelling between zone 1 stations in central London (such as Paddington) and Heathrow will be charged £12.10 at peak times and £10.10 off-peak.

While more than double the Tube prices of £5.10 peak and £3.10 off-peak, it's still almost half the standard £22-£25 fare of the Heathrow Express.

The staged opening of the Elizabeth Line will see trains continuing through central London's new tunnels to Abbey Wood from December 2018, and central London destinations including Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf (below) by December 2019.

Also read: These frequent flyers get a free Heathrow Express first class upgrade

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

21 comments

  • Scott Wilson

    Libertyscott

    24 Apr, 2018 03:47 am

    This article has lots of useful information, but isn't quite clear about the schedule ahead. The new train are operating now on the TfL Rail Liverpool St-Shenfield service which will be replaced by the Elizabeth Line service in 2019.

    TfL Rail takes over the Heathrow Connect service in May 2018. In December 2018, the Elizabeth Line will open, but there will be NO through service at Paddington. There will be a separate Paddington-Abbey Wood service and the Paddington-Heathrow service will terminate at Paddington, not proceed under Paddington. If you want to go east of Paddington you will need to change trains until December 2019. Trains will NOT be continuing through Paddington from Heathrow before then.

    In May 2019, the Paddington-Shenfield service will commence, replacing the Liverpool St-Shenfield service (but stopping at the new Elizabeth Line Liverpool St station). In December 2019, the through service from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood and Shenfield means the completion of the service.

    By the way "all trains will service Terminals 2 and 4 before branching off to either T4 or T5"

    should be all trains will service Terminals 2 and 3 etc.


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  • ecbailey

    ecbailey

    24 Apr, 2018 09:11 am

    At least they fit on the through the tunnels (I assume), unlike the ones bought for Sydney!
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  • bagpuss

    bagpuss

    24 Apr, 2018 11:48 am

    I remember when this was originally "ThamesLink 2000". It was due to open in the year 2000.

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  • Sula

    Sula

    24 Apr, 2018 05:36 pm

    Thameslink and Crossrail have always been two entirely different things. Thameslink goes nowhere near Heathrow since it’s a north-south link.
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  • Rufus1

    Rufus1

    24 Apr, 2018 12:07 pm

    So for Stage 1 (at least until it's open through to Liverpool St), it looks like the Central line to Ealing Broadway and then Crossrail to LHR would be best option for those travelling from the City?
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  • Nick  Sydney 348

    Nick Sydney 2

    24 Apr, 2018 03:01 pm

    And battling the tube with luggage. I love my other (old) home city but its just hard work trying to fight London commuting to get to LHR. Sadly no other way as my usual carriage (CX or QF) leave in the evening an afternoon battle or some extortinate cab fare.
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  • Robertybob

    Robertybob

    24 Apr, 2018 04:25 pm

    The eastern part of the Elizabeth line will connect Liverpool Street and other key stations to Paddington this coming December. You'll need to change there to either Heathrow Express or the western part of the Elizabeth line(formerly Heathrow Connect) to get to LHR. Full through-service under Paddington for the Elizabeth line commences December 2019.
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  • petercr

    petercr

    24 Apr, 2018 03:07 pm

    Booking in advance on the Heathrow Express can still be cheaper... I think we paid something like $10ea off-peak one-way in April last year
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  • Phil Young

    Phil Young

    24 Apr, 2018 04:18 pm

    Yes, the HEX is a mere £5.50 each way on a weekend if you can book 90+ days ahead. That's much cheaper than the Connect with similar conditions.
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  • petercr

    petercr

    24 Apr, 2018 04:29 pm

    Yep... That was it... £11 between the two of us for a trip of about 20mins...
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  • Robert Follis

    robfol

    24 Apr, 2018 04:03 pm

    What a clumsy political arse-licking name for a train line. Long may it be called Crossrail!
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  • Nick  Sydney 348

    Nick Sydney 2

    24 Apr, 2018 05:52 pm

    Steady on. God Save the Queen
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    25 Apr, 2018 07:45 pm

    Do you have a problem with the name of the Jubilee line, too?
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    25 Apr, 2018 07:46 pm

    Or the Victoria line?
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  • Robertybob

    Robertybob

    24 Apr, 2018 04:10 pm

    quick correction:
    "Heathrow, where all trains will service Terminals 2 and 4 before branching off..."....should read will service Terminals 2 and 3;

    and

    quick clarification:
    Heathrow Express will continue to provide a non-stop service taking 15 minutes, every 15 minutes to Paddington mainline station after the Elizabeth line opens. It is owned by Heathrow Airport.
    The Elizabeth Line will replace only the Heathrow Connect service, so it takes 10 minutes longer to Paddington because it has intermediate stops. But when fully operational next year it will truly revolutionise travel in greater london because it offers a Paris-like RER express train into, through and out to the other side of London, calling at a few major stops. For example, it will take 32 minutes from Heathrow to Canary Wharf (which is the home of many banks these days)...compared with well over 2 hours in a cab in peak hour.
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  • Adrian Granaghan

    tungaroa

    24 Apr, 2018 04:32 pm

    Only problem with buyng in advance, if the Heathrow Express service is interrupted due to weather, it is impossible to get a refund. After a year, I gave up trying to get my 100 quid back..
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  • petercr

    petercr

    24 Apr, 2018 04:37 pm

    I was prepared to take the risk for 11 Quid... (and if the trains ain't running due to weather, it's a safe bet the planes ain't either)
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  • Adrian Granaghan

    tungaroa

    24 Apr, 2018 04:50 pm

    8 of us, at Christmas. Closed due to rain and then 200 quid for two taxis....all I can say, is ouch! :)
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    24 Apr, 2018 04:37 pm

    There is a lot of Crossrail info on geoff marshall's Youtube channel. (search youtube for 'geoff marshall')
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  • pgcnewyork

    pgcnewyork

    24 Apr, 2018 11:47 pm

    From the City, you're better off getting the H&C line to Paddington, then the HEx from there (at least until Crossrail goes from Liverpool St). If you have to start on the Central Line, I'd suggest changing to the Bakerloo at Oxford Circus for Paddington.
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  • Scott Wilson

    Libertyscott

    28 Apr, 2018 02:45 am

    Crossrail will be going through Liverpool St from Dec 18, as the Abbey Wood-Paddington section stops at Liverpool St.
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19 Jul, 2019 10:55 pm

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