Crossrail and Hethrow Airport have announced that they're going to increase the number of services planned between Central London and Heathrow Airport once line 1 of Crossrail (aka the Eliabeth line) opens.

The original planned frequency was four trains an hour terminating at terminal 4, passengers for terminal 5 could change at Heathrow Central (terminals 2 & 3) for a free connection to terminal 5. There's currently only four active terminals in Heathrow as terminal 1 is currently getting demolished to make room for an expanded terminal 2.

It's now intended to have six trains an hour to Heathrow, four of these will continue as planned to serve T4 and the other two will terminate at T5, all will serve the central terminals. If you're going to T5 and there's not a direct train you'll still have the option to take a T4 service and change at Heathrow Central for a free transfer to T5. They're also looking at the feasibility of increasing the service to eight trains an hour so that both T4 and T5 get equal levels of service. The reason the Crossrail frequencies appeared to have a T4 bias is because T5 is already served by four trains an hour by the Heathrow Express whereas those in T4 often have to change at Heathrow Central (only a few Heathrow Connect trains serve T4 direct from London).

The figure of 22 trains an hour between Heathrow and London by 2019 includes all modes of rail transport.

Currently we have the following:

  • Four Heathrow Express services per hour connecting Heathrow with London Paddington
  • Two Heathrow Connect services per hour connecting Heathrow with London Paddington and most intermediate stops
  • Twelve London Underground services per hour connecting Heathrow with the Piccadilly line

Once Crossrail starts running to Heathrow we'll have:

  • Four Heathrow Express services per hour running as currently
  • Six Crossrail services per hour (the Heathrow Connect will no longer operate)
  • Twelve London Underground services per hour on the Piccadilly line, but this will also eventually increase when the line is upgraded

So once Crossrail opens Heathrow connectivity has never been so good. It'll make getting to the airport quicker and easier for many people. Will this make domestic flying more attractive? Will VTEC improve their loyalty scheme to compete? We think Crossrail will make air travel more attractive to some so VTEC need to make the effort to encourage loyalty.