The fares for Crossrail to Heathrow have been announced today, these fares will come into operation when TfL Rail takes over from the Heathrow Connect on the 20th May. The fares represent good value as they are capped in line with normal zone 1-6 fares so if you travel within London before or after your journey to Heathrow you will be charged a maximum of £12.50 a day if you use Oyster or contactless.

The single fares will be more expensive than the Tube but will be slightly cheaper than the current Heathrow Connect and significantly cheaper than the Heathrow Express.

Here's the planned single fares pricing. Note that the TfL Rail fares are only on Oyster or contactless and the paper ticket fares are likely to be the same as the current Heathrow Connect prices initially. The Heathrow Connect branded service will cease when TfL Rail comes into operation.

Heathrow to/from Heathrow Express Heathrow Connect TfL Rail / Elizabeth line
Paddington £25.00 (peak)
£22.00 (off-peak)
£10.30 £10.20 (peak)
£10.10 (off-peak)
Acton Main Line
Ealing Broadway
West Ealing
N/A £8.00 £7.30 (peak)
£6.00 (off-peak)
N/A £6.90 £6.90 (peak)
£6.00 (off-peak)
Hayes & Harlington N/A £6.30 £6.20 (peak)
£6.00 (off-peak)

TfL Rail is the brand that Transport for London are using for their Crossrail services until the core section opens in December 2018, from this point Crossrail will be branded Elizabeth Line.

So the good points are:

  • The TfL Rail peak time single fares are mostly slightly cheaper than the current Heathrow Connect service, the worst case is from Southall or Hanwell where the price is the same. The off-peak single fare is just £6 when starting at one of the stations west of Paddington.
  • TfL Rail will also run more frequently to Heathrow. The Connect runs twice an hour and it's intended for TfL Rail to run four times an hour (although initially it will run at two trains an hour using the existing stock until some signalling issues are resolved). Once the system is fully operational Crossrail will run six times an hour (four to T4, two to T5 and all stop at the central station for T2 and T3).
  • The price cap of £12.50 a day covers all zone 1-6 travel and is the same price cap as you'd get on the Tube although the single fare on the tube is much cheaper. This means if you have other travel to do before or after your trip to Heathrow you can benefit from this price cap.

Therefore if you have a zone 1-6 season ticket you should be able to travel to Heathrow on Crossrail for no additional charge. If you don't have a season ticket then the Tube will be the cheapest option still if the only trip you're making that day is to the airport, but if you have other travel (e.g. going to work, sightseeing, etc) you're likely to be just as well off (and save time) using Crossrail.

Changes at Heathrow

Currently the railway stations at Heathrow do not have ticket barriers. All Heathrow Express and Connect trains have ticket inspectors on-board, Heathrow Express will happily sell you a ticket on-board at a higher price and penalty fares apply to Heathrow Connect. On the Heathrow Connect you can use Oyster and contactless when travelling between intermediate stations but you can't use it at all to/from Heathrow on either the Express or Connect. When the Heathrow Connect is replaced by TfL Rail on the 20 May then Oyster and contactless will be accepted from day one.

It's also planned to accept Oyster and contactless on the Heathrow Express but as yet it's unknown what the fares will be for this service (on trains to Gatwick a premium is charged to use the Gatwick Express) and whether it will be accepted from the same time TfL Rail begins operations.

Barriers will cause some complications. At Heathrow you can currently take the trains free of charge between terminals as there was no barriers then this was no issue. As the Tube has barriers if you chose to take the Tube rather than the train between terminals you needed either an Oyster or contactless card to open the barriers although you weren't charged as long as you touched in and out within the Heathrow Terminals. Now as all modes of transport will have barriers they will need to provide a way for passengers without an Oyster or contactless card to travel between terminals. UPDATE: now the barriers are live we can confirm that there's machines that dispense free tickets if you're connecting between terminals.

The barriers are installed at Terminal 5 and are currently undergoing testing.

Crossrail barriers at Terminal 5