02 December 2016 | 7 °C

Heathrow Express: Secret Tunnels And Unused Platforms

M@
By M@
Heathrow Express: Secret Tunnels And Unused Platforms

As a geeky kind of spin-off from our Secrets of the Tube series, we took a ride in the cab of a Heathrow Express train, from Paddington to the airport.

As the video shows, the line turns out to be more interesting than you might imagine. We were shown unused platforms and cavernous spaces. And we also discovered that one of the capital's shortest rail links — the shuttle between Terminals 1,2,3 and Terminal 4 — has as many drivers as it has stations.

The video above is by Geoff Marshall, and the photos below are by Matt Brown. With thanks to the staff at Heathrow Express for taking the time to show us round.

If you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel, where you'll be one of the first to see future films.

View from the cab, leaving Paddington.
View from the cab, leaving Paddington.
Approaching Heathrow Central.
Approaching Heathrow Central.
Planning ahead: unused infrastructure at Terminal 5, waiting for future expansion. This would be a lift frame.
Planning ahead: unused infrastructure at Terminal 5, waiting for future expansion. This would be a lift frame.
This huge atrium at Heathrow Central is much bigger than it needs to be. The volume was scooped out following the infamous tunnel collapse during in 1994. Rather than fill it all back in again, the architects chose to make use of it.
This huge atrium at Heathrow Central is much bigger than it needs to be. The volume was scooped out following the infamous tunnel collapse during in 1994. Rather than fill it all back in again, the architects chose to make use of it.
The delightful woodwork of Hanwell Station.
The delightful woodwork of Hanwell Station.
Approaching Trellick Tower.
Approaching Trellick Tower.

Last Updated 21 October 2016

Kompani

Great video and article, thanks.

Dave

Why the European power socket on the right hand side of the cab?

openg

I salute the nerdiness of that and really loved it, but the comment about the European power socket Dave takes the nerdy cake. Well done :)

Dave K

Very interesting, thanks chaps!

ianpatterson99

The 3rd set of platforms was reserved for Airtrack. Originally this was a scheme to link Guildford, Woking and the SW to Heathrow directly. Opposition from Staines cancelled it. Worth a look in its own right!

JR

Nice video. I think I once heard that per mile, the Heathrow Express was the most expensive train journey on the planet?

Chris

Doesn't E* have a driver (called the Train Manager) in the back cab for the purposes of being able to drive the train (or half train) out of the tunnel in an emergency. They normally are the driver for the return trip.

Tube Geek

Second photo looks ace! The sort of thing I would expect from Geoff, unless you do lots of photography too, of course!

Greg Tingey

"HeX" - one of the greediest collection of rip-off merchants around.
The sooner Crossrail-1/Lizzie-Line arrives & puts them put of business, the better!