Where What When – And Why? (1)

Heathrow is big and all the statistics are big!
Heathrow is the largest single-site employer in the UK. More than 76,000 people work at the airport – and many more nearby. In total, Heathrow supports 114,000 local jobs. It accounts for 22% of local employment.

In 2022, London Heathrow Airport handled approximately 61.6 million passengers; in 2019 (pre-Covid) it was 90 million.
It is really hard to imagine these numbers – which is why the airport has put plenty of its hard-earned cash into subsidising bus services and promoting train services. The maps we have looked at over the past three blogs give some idea as to the scope and variety of places that are linked to the very heart of the airport. Maybe better would be “hearts”, namely Terminal 2/3 …
… Terminal 4 …
… and Terminal 5.

It is amazing that the whole place works at all!


Bus coach and train travel to and from the airport is practically and environmentally essential. So here is Heathrow’s information for ail pasengers.

The most important thing is to buy a ticket, but a bit of tapping and scrolling does lead to a section headed “Timetables“, And this is what you get for an HEx timetable at 15o0 approx yesterday afternoon.

Really? Same times past each hour at each station? Hmmm?

The Heathrow Express web site has a more helpful departuire list (but no full timetable) …

with different but correct times.

Maybe Heathrow Airport should try checking the Heathrow Express web site before publishing inaccurate times. But that would be plain silly? That would mean one bit of Heathrow talking to the other bit. No, you are right, that would be impossible to achieve.

Heres is a Transport for London map to remind us.

The dittoed pale blue is Heathrow Express – ludicrously over priced and dumping the unwary in Paddington, often nowhere near their hotel so they need to take a tube, bus or taxi.

Or they could take the purple Elizabeth Line line.

And here, credit where credit is due, we are offered a full timetable. 

The above is a half hourly segment which shows a 30 minute frequency from Terminal 5 (by far the busiest of the two extremities; then a 15 minute frequency from Terminal 4 (by very far the quietest of the two termini).

You can’t get from T5 to Abbey Wood without a change and you can’t get from T4 to Shenfield without a change.

But at least you can work that out from the timetable. BUT wouldn’t it be so much MORE helpful just to shown journeys from the Airport and remove the clutter. 

That, however, would involve the techies at Heathrow using their brains and doing something!

Or what about using the Underground Piccadilly Line?

Oh dear! You only get first and last train tines and nothing else. 

But, remember the minimalist “Free Travel Zone” map from yesterday’s blog? Of course you do.

Well that has a useful (?) panel which explains it all.

It is “all” if you are travelling between terminals for free but not very helpful if you are hoping to ride into central London or even beyond. A line diagram would be useful … 

… and some idea of frequencies from the termini would be great. There will be something like this at the airport …

… but how much more helpful would it be to have it on-line and available before you have to travel. 

Remember a lot of the airport’s visitors are either first timers or unfamiliar with the UK’s mysterious disfunctional transport systems.

Another beef is fares. Heathrow Express is a rip off. Unless you are desperate to hurry to Paddington at a high price, the Elizabeth Line line is a far better (and cheaper) option. It also goes to Paddington but much further.

Surprisingly, by the time you have changed somewhere, the Piccadilly line is not as slow as it appears.

If you require destinations on the dark blue one – take it and avoid the stress of changing elsewhere.

Tomorrow, we do the same for buses – and that will be fun!

 Next Heathrow blog : Saturday 9th September 
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