Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to be served by Elizabeth line trains
From December 2019 the number of trains from central London to the airport will increase to at least 22 a day.
London’s new Elizabeth line service is to be extended to Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.
The commitment to boost the west London hub’s rail links was agreed by Heathrow, Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT).
In May, Heathrow chiefs lost a High Court challenge over access charges they can levy on Elizabeth line trains.
The Elizabeth line is the name given to the service being launched as a result of the Crossrail project.
From December 2019, Heathrow will be served by six Elizabeth line trains per hour, two of which will run to Terminal 5.
This will increase the total number of Heathrow trains leaving central London from 18 an hour today to at least 22.
A joint feasibility study has begun to consider a further two Elizabeth line trains per hour to Terminal 5, meaning a total of eight serving the airport.
Departing travellers can also reach the airport via 12 London Underground trains every hour and four Heathrow Express trains.
New ticket readers will be installed at Heathrow in May next year to enable passengers to use Oyster and contactless payments for all rail services.
The airport spent £1 billion building a five-mile spur 20 years ago to connect Heathrow to the Great Western track.
Legal action was triggered after the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) decided the amount which Heathrow Airport Ltd could charge Crossrail, and others, for using the spur could not include any amount connected to the recovery of the spur building costs.
The airport applied for a judicial review at London’s High Court, arguing that the decision was irrational and the ORR had no power to reach any decision over the access charge at all.
Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that the challenge failed on all grounds.
London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown, said: “We have been working with Heathrow on how we can deliver the best services for customers to and from the airport. It is great news that we can now confirm that the Elizabeth line will serve all the terminals.”
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye described the agreement on increasing train services as “a big step forward”.
He said: “Heathrow, TfL and the DfT are working together to boost rail connections to the UK’s hub, giving our passengers more choices to travel sustainably between Heathrow and London.
“With 22 trains per hour, an ambition to add even more services and easy to use Oyster and contactless ticketing, Heathrow will be at the heart of an integrated transport network and our passengers will reap the benefits.”
Heathrow said the rail improvements are not dependent on its plans to build a third runway.
But they will play a key part in its pledge to expand without causing any increase in car journeys by people using the airport.