Heathrow Express: Secret Tunnels And Unused Platforms

You probably noticed that London Underground celebrated its 150th anniversary last year. At the same time, the Heathrow Express quietly enjoyed its 15th birthday. As a geeky kind of spin-off from our Secrets of the Tube series, we recently 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 Londonist Editor Matt Brown. With thanks to the staff at Heathrow Express for taking the time to show us round.

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  • Kompani

    Great video and article, thanks.

  • Dave

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

    • http://searchbuzz.co/ SearchBuzz

      Tourists are the most common users of the taxi? :)

    • Paul

      Because the trains were built in Spain.

    • Gouki

      Because its 110v not 240v

  • 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!

    • Jon Hallam

      Wonder if that scheme will ever get dusted off again. Here’s hoping

  • JR

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

    • Iain MacNaughton

      I’d have thought some of the zone 1 journeys between adjacent stations only a few hundred yards apart but costing £4 would top that

  • 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.