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Terminals & Runways

Heathrow Northern Runway
Heathrow Terminal 5


Piccadilly Line to Terminal 5


Airtrack: Heathrow to Waterloo, Reading or Guildford via Staines
Heathrow Eurostar
Heathrow Express to Terminal 5
Heathrow gateway station at Feltham
Heathrow gateway station at Hayes
Heathrow Southern Rail Link
Heathrow stopping services to Hayes and Paddington
Heathrow to Reading via Slough
Heathrow to St Pancras
Heathrow to Wembley, Watford, the North and Midlands
Orbirail from Heathrow to Kingston, Croydon and Gatwick

Railair Coaches

Watford Railair Coach

Intermediate Modes

Heathrow Orbital Intermediate Modes


Modification date

Heathrow Terminal 5

2001 Nov 28 up

  • Official website
  • Illustrative models of Terminal 5 are at the Heathrow Visitor Centre (Tel: +44 (0)20 8745 6655) on Newall Road, Heathrow. The centre is open from 10am to 5pm daily (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day). A tracked transit system will link different buildings in Terminal 5
  • The planned new air terminal, on a sludge farm between the two runways, would take the capacity of Heathrow Airport to 80 million passengers per annum and would lead to an 8% increase in flights and a 3% increase in road traffic at peak times
  • The longest planning inquiry in British history started on 16th May 1995 and closed on 17th March 1999. The inspector's report was due to be finished by March 2001, but in practice it was delivered to the government in December 2000
  • In April 1998, Hounslow Council described themselves as "part of a consortium of local authorities who are opposed to T5"
  • It would be operating to capacity by 2016
  • In March 1999, BAA promised that there would be no third runway, no increase in noise climate, and no increase in night flight quota. They also promised a 630m rail, bus and coach programme and "the country's first genuinely intermodal public transport hub". Heathrow would be placed "at the heart of the rail network" with "direct services to the North, Midlands, the West and South West". An opinion poll showed that 56% of people within a five mile radius of Heathrow said they would support Terminal 5 if these conditions were implemented and only 30% would continue to oppose it
  • In November 2000, an internal BAA memo stated that T5 enabling works would start in September 2001, and that this would include a tunnel from T3 to T5
  • In December 2000, the report on the inquiry (which itself cost 100m) was delivered to the government. The government decision was expected in Autumn 2001. The terminal was said to cost approximately 2000m and could not open before 2007
  • In February 2001, the inspector's 1000-page report was reported to recommend the building of T5 "with tough provisions"
  • In November 2001, the terminal received government approval on condition that a Piccadilly Line branch and Heathrow Express branch were opened first. No mention was made of BAA's earlier promises for direct trains to the North and Midlands and the West and Southwest. Note that work can not actually start until a separate planning approval for diverting the Twin Rivers has been received

Heathrow to Wembley, Watford, the North and Midlands

2001 Nov 28 up

  • Duncan Pflaeger - "BAA proposes a 5 million scheme to electrify the tracks between Acton on the Great Western Main Line and Willesden on the West Coast Main Line. This would allow direct services from Heathrow Airport to Birmingham and Manchester"
  • In October 1996, planned service was one train per hour to Manchester (possibly calling at Wilmslow and Stockport) and one train per hour to Birmingham (possibly calling at Coventry and Birmingham International). These trains would not stop at Watford Junction or anywhere south of it, except for Heathrow Central and Heathrow T5. An additional 2 trains per hour would run between Heathrow and Watford Junction, calling at Ealing Broadway and Wembley Central
  • By October 1998, BAA seemed to be no longer mentioning the services to Wembley and Watford
  • BAA have promised direct trains from Heathrow to the North and Midlands if Terminal 5 is given the go-ahead
  • In March 2000, Railtrack hinted at services from Heathrow to Watford, St Albans, Birmingham and Manchester, and that a grade separated junction or new tracks in the Willesden Junction area would facilitate operation: no guarantees or dates were given
  • In March 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority proposed "a new junction and spur in Willesden area to permit new, fast services at 1 train per hour to access Heathrow Airport from Birmingham and Manchester" in "7-10 years". [Editor's note: northbound trains from Heathrow already have direct access near Harlesden station to the Fast Line towards Birmingham, but southbound trains on the Fast Line from Birmingham can only reach Heathrow by crossing the Slow Lines at Wembley]
  • Despite BAA's earlier promises of direct trains from Heathrow to the North and Midlands if Terminal 5 was given the go-ahead, the government's approval of Terminal 5 in November 2001 did not demand any such link

Airtrack: Heathrow to Waterloo, Reading or Guildford via Staines

2001 Nov 28 up

  • A. Boodoo - "Trains would run from Reading to Wokingham, Bracknell, presumably Ascot, Staines (where they would reverse), Heathrow T5 (if built) and Heathrow Central. Trains may continue, for example to Watford Junction. A study was announced in 1998, being carried out, if I remember correctly, by Halcrow Transmark, in association with the district and borough councils along the route"
  • The junction with the current Heathrow Express has already been built under the airport
  • In early 1999, a detailed feasibility study was under way. Proposed service would be 2 trains per hour from Reading via Bracknell, 2 trains per hour from Guildford via Woking and 2 trains per hour from Waterloo via Richmond. Some or all trains would probably call at Staines: this is being demanded in return for the local disruption caused by the new scheme
  • In September 1999, BAA, British Airways and Railtrack gave this scheme "the go-ahead". BAA believe that 5m passengers and employees per year will use the services (about 100 per train)
  • David Randles on 14th September 1999 - "An article in today's Financial Times refers to through services from Reading, Guildford, Woking, Clapham Junction and either Waterloo or Victoria. It confirms that the line will follow the disused Staines branch alongside the M25 before entering a tunnel under the airport. It will serve the proposed Terminal 5, and will link up with Heathrow Express allowing through running. Finalising plans and approvals will take four years, and construction a further two years with opening in 2005-2006. Costs have increased from 60m to 170m to provide additional connections and upgrade existing lines for more trains"
  • In March 2000, Railtrack stated that the plan included a new curve in Staines to allow travel from Heathrow to Virginia Water without reversing. A new station at Staines High Street was also being considered as part of the plan. Opening date had slipped to 2007, and the plan was described as optional rather than committed
  • In mid 2000, Railtrack stated that southern destinations in the "proposed" Airtrack network included Victoria, Portsmouth (via Woking and Guildford), Southampton (via Woking and Basingstoke), Farnham (via Ascot) and Reading (via Ascot). Northern destinations included Birmingham (via Watford Junction and Coventry), Manchester (via Watford Junction), St Albans Abbey (via Watford Junction), Bedford, St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link
  • This plan was said in 1999 to be not dependent on Terminal 5 being approved: but in mid 2000, Railtrack stated that if Terminal 5 were not approved, the rationale for Airtrack would have to be reviewed
  • In May 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority supported the Airtrack scheme but envisaged that it would only be constructed if Terminal 5 were approved, and said that the scheme was dependent on the Great Western Mainline acquiring 6-tracks east of Airport Junction
  • Despite BAA's earlier promises of direct trains from Heathrow to the West and South West if Terminal 5 was given the go-ahead, the government's approval of Terminal 5 in November 2001 did not demand any such link
  • See also Southern Rail Link

Orbirail from Heathrow to Kingston, Wimbledon, Croydon and Gatwick

2001 Nov 28 up

  • Note that this SWELTRAC Orbirail has nothing to do with the Orbirail discussed by London's Mayor and the Strategic Rail Authority in 2001
  • In the mid 1990s, SWELTRAC (South West London Transport Conference) produced a plan for a half-hourly rail service from Heathrow Central and T4 via the planned Southern Rail Link to Feltham, Kingston, and Wimbledon, requiring new direct tracks between Whitton and Strawberry Hill (some sources suggest a reversal at Twickenham instead)
  • By July 1998, the plan had been extended from Wimbledon to Croydon and Gatwick, requiring new direct tracks between Tooting and Norbury. The enhanced scheme also includes a quality bus link from New Malden to Worcester Park and Sutton
  • In July 1999, Kingston Council stated that they were keen
  • In mid 2000, Railtrack's plans for orbital rail in London ignored the scheme
  • In July 2001, SWELTRAC still supported the scheme

Heathrow to St Pancras

2001 Nov 28 up

  • In October 1996, BAA had plans for 4 trains an hour from Heathrow calling only at Ealing Broadway before terminating at St Pancras, and another 4 trains per hour from Heathrow calling at Ealing Broadway, West Hampstead and Kings Cross Thameslink before continuing with a normal Thameslink stopping pattern to the South Coast (note that the 23-metre long Heathrow Express trains can not fit through the Thameslink tunnel)
  • This would require the 33m electrification of the Dudding Hill freight route from Acton to Cricklewood by Railtrack, plus other work (1998 prices)
  • By December 1996, the plan had been revised to quarter-hourly trains taking 35 minutes from Heathrow to St Pancras, calling at Hayes & Harlington, Ealing Broadway and West Hampstead
  • By July 1998, Brent Council seemed to be no longer hopeful of a stop at Cricklewood but were hoping for an interchange station at Harlesden
  • Fares for Heathrow to St Pancras are expected to be comparable with Heathrow Express fares to Paddington: fares for non-Heathrow journeys are expected to be more expensive than fares on Thameslink or Thames Trains
  • Duncan Pflaeger in January 1998 - "BAA is in discussion with London & Continental (who own St Pancras) and Railtrack (concerning electrification of the Dudding Hill freight route). BAA intends shortly to place an order for more Class 332 units (currently used on the Heathrow Express) for the new service"
  • In May 1997, BAA Heathrow predicted that service could start in 1999 (see next line)
  • In October 1998, BAA Heathrow predicted that service could start in 2001 (see next line)
  • In January 1999, Railtrack deposited plans which showed that West Hampstead Platform 4 would be widened at the western end by relocating the two southernmost tracks (currently used by freight trains only), and a new platform would be built south of the southernmost tracks. A replacement ticket office would be built on the southern side of the station, improving interchange with the Jubilee Line and North London Line
  • In March 1999, Railtrack were planning minor trackwork to allow 2 trains per hour by 2002, and major trackwork to allow 4 trains per hour by 2006 (see next line)
  • In August 1999, it was rumoured that start of this service was deferred until 2006 pending major trackwork (increasing parts of the Great Western Main Line from 4 tracks to 6) (see below)
  • In August 1999 it was rumoured that Railtrack had shelved the plan in favour of extending the existing Heathrow Paddington service on to the northern side of the Circle Line, but in November 1999 all plans for linking mainline trains to the Circle Line at Paddington were scrapped
  • In March 2000, Railtrack listed 60 projects for enhancing the Great Western Mainline (Paddington - Bristol / Swansea) and gave possible completion dates for 58 of them. This was one of the two projects for which no date was given
  • In November 2000, BAA stated that 4 trains per hour to St Pancras would not be possible until 2007, when the redevelopment of St Pancras in association with CTRL Phase 2 was complete
  • In March 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority stated that the scheme required the electrification of the Dudding Hill freight line and a flyover at Cricklewood
  • In March 2001, the Park Royal Partnership's Draft Transport Strategy stated that the line might serve new platforms where it passes Harlesden station, and also that it might serve the proposed Old Oak / North Acton interchange
  • In May 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority supported the scheme: however, Railtrack planned no electrification in Britain within the next 5 years
  • Colin McKenzie in July 2001 - "BAA have indicated a 2tph premium fare Heathrow/St.Pancras service could start in May or Sep 2002, probably via Dudden Hill(?). There is scepticism about this, as the line needs to be electrified and trains may need to be built."

Piccadilly Line to Terminal 5

2001 Nov 28 up

  • Dependent on Terminal 5 being authorised
  • A straight section long enough for a station exists in the Piccadilly Line curve between T4 and T123 beneath where T5 was originally going to be built. However, current proposals for T5 put it much further west, so the straight spot will not be used: instead a new double-track branch will run between T123 and T5. It was rumoured that half the trains via Hounslow West would call at Hatton Cross, T123, T5 (reverse), T123, Hatton Cross and back to London (without serving T4 in either direction): the other half of the trains via Hounslow West would run as now
  • In April 1998, London Underground agreed to extend the Piccadilly Line to Terminal 5, if the terminal and extension win planning permission
  • In May 1998, BAA announced that they will fund construction of this 70m extension, and London Underground will pay them track access fees for the next 30 years
  • In October 1998, BAA Heathrow predicted opening by 2005 (subject to planning permission)
  • In approximately August 1999, London Underground and BAA signed a "Heads of Terms" non-legally binding document which forms the basis on which the Private Finance Initiative to build the extension will be drafted. Cost had risen to 100m
  • In 2000, the Millennium Dome Journey Zone contained a Terminal 5 exhibit which portrayed a station with at least two London Underground tracks and several parallel tracks containing other trains
  • In late 2000, the Heathrow Visitors Centre (Tel: +44 (0)20 8745 6655) contained maps of indeterminate vintage which showed a new pair of tracks diverging from the existing double tracks west of Heathrow T123 and running to two platforms at T5, with a Bank-DLR-style reversing siding on the far side of Terminal 5
  • In November 2001, Terminal 5 was approved on condition that this Piccadilly Line branch be built

Heathrow Express to Terminal 5

2001 Nov 28 up

  • It is rumoured that trains from Paddington would split at Heathrow Central, with one half proceeding to T4 and the other half proceeding to T5
  • In October 1998, BAA Heathrow predicted opening by 2005 (subject to planning permission)
  • Junction tunnels for this branch were built just south of Heathrow Central when the Heathrow Express line was built: however, the map of indeterminate vintage at the Heathrow Visitor Centre in late 2000 suggested that the built junction would not be used, and two new junctions (eastbound and westbound) would be built further east
  • In November 2001, Terminal 5 was approved on condition that this Heathrow Express branch be built

Heathrow stopping services to Hayes and Paddington

2001 Sep 17 up

  • See also services to Ealing, West Hampstead and St Pancras
  • In October 1996, BAA were proposing 2 trains per hour between Heathrow and Acton (Main Line?), calling at Hayes, Southall and Ealing Broadway
  • By October 1998, BAA seemed to be no longer mentioning this plan
  • By August 1999, Thames Trains and Heathrow Express had jointly applied to operate half-hourly Heathrow to Paddington stopping services from May 2000, calling at Hayes, Southall and Ealing Broadway. These will use the same trains as Heathrow Express. Fare and Travelcard issues were not announced. This stopping service might be withdrawn when the Heathrow-St Pancras service starts running
  • In September 2000, BAA stated that a half-hourly shuttle taking 4 minutes between Heathrow and Hayes was planned, to be subsequently extended to Ealing Broadway and then West Hampstead
  • In November 2000, BAA stated that a shuttle between Heathrow and Hayes would run in 2001 (approximately a year earlier, the deadline had been 2000: see below for further slippage). BAA had requested paths from Railtrack. The service would subsequently be extended to Ealing Broadway
  • In April 2001, Railtrack stated that BAA hoped to start a shuttle from Heathrow to Hayes and Ealing in 2002
  • See also London's Mayor's comments on CrossRail

Heathrow Southern Rail Link

2001 Apr 01 up

  • The all-tunnel Southern Rail Link would connect with existing railways at Bedfont, between Feltham and Ashford. Cost would be 250m to serve the existing 4 terminals, or 550m to serve five terminals. A study has been carried out by SWELTRAC (South West London Transport Conference)
  • Hounslow Council successfully forced Heathrow Express to be built with a junction for the Southern Rail Link
  • See also Airtrack

Heathrow to Reading via Slough

2001 Apr 01 up

  • One option would require a west-to-south curve at Airport Junction (near Hayes station) and electrification to Reading or further: note that electrification from Hayes to Reading is included in the CrossRail scheme. Airport Junction was designed to simplify construction of a west to south curve
  • In late 1998, British Airports Authority preferred a route from Heathrow Central to Slough via the planned Terminal 5
  • In September 2000, BAA were in talks with Thames Trains to extend the Heathrow Express from Heathrow to Reading. Thames Trains also wanted to run dedicated services from Reading to the airport
  • Railtrack have stated that electrification of the entire Great Western route is not viable

Heathrow gateway station at Hayes

2001 Apr 01 up

  • After consideration of a station at Stockley Park, SWELTRAC (South West London Transport Conference) now prefers upgrading Hayes & Harlington
  • "Hayes Hub" will have enhanced bus interchange and 6 platforms served by Great Western, Thames Trains and St Pancras to Heathrow trains (and possibly Virgin Trains)
  • In October 1998, BAA Heathrow predicted that this station could be completed by 2001
  • In May 1999, BAA Heathrow stated that the first phase was expected to be operational in 2001
  • In approximately April 2000, it was rumoured that Virgin Trains had abandoned plans to serve the station
  • In September 2000, construction of passenger facilities at Hayes was expected to start in 2002
  • See also Heathrow stopping services to Hayes and Paddington

Open Watford Railair Coach

2001 Apr 01 up

  • On 24th September 2000, Virgin Trains started an hourly Railair coach between Watford Junction and Heathrow

Open Heathrow gateway station at Feltham

2000 Oct 06 up

  • After earlier consideration of a station at East Bedfont, it was decided to enhance Feltham station and improve bus access
  • On April 22nd 1999, the new station was opened and London Transport Buses introduced two new daily non-stop bus services from Feltham Station to Heathrow. Route T123 served Terminals 1, 2 and 3, while route T4 served Terminal 4. There were extensive bus priority measures along the routes. Normal LT fares were charged, with the full range of Bus Passes, Travelcards and Freedom Passes being available. Through ticketing was available to and from the National Railways network. Both routes ran every 12-20 minutes during the day: T4 took only 12 minutes, T123 took longer
  • Alistair Bell - "With the new access from the Heathrow bus, it's fully step-free: the footbridge between the platforms has lifts on both sides, the bus is low-floor, and the new station building at the bus station end is step-free too"
  • On 24th June 2000, the T4 was withdrawn and the T123 frequency was reduced

Heathrow Northern Runway

2000 Jun 06 up

  • The government is holding a consultation over whether and where an extra runway should be built in Southeast England
  • In May 2000, British Airways (not British Airport Authority) submitted to the government a proposal for an additional terminal and runway suitable for small and medium-sized aircraft, running from Sipson Road (about halfway between the Harmondsworth Lane and Holloway Lane junctions) to near the M25/M4 junction. It would be linked to the existing airport by a tunnel under the A4. It would require the demolition of the villages of Sipson and Harmondsworth and the relocation of 5000 residents, and might also require demolition of the Grade I listed Great Barn at Harmondsworth. A decision was not expected until after the next election

Scrapped Heathrow Eurostar

1999 Dec 06 up

  • In December 1998, the consortium which was about to take over Eurostar delivered a report to the government in which trains from Heathrow to Paris were described as an "option"
  • In October 1998, a diesel-hauled 12-trailer Eurostar successfully visited Heathrow as a test
  • An electrification gap would have to be filled at Acton with complex alterations to signalling and electrical immunisation. The Heathrow Eurostars would have to use the slow lines (Heathrow Express is built to access the fast lines): the rail flyover at Heathrow Junction would have to be extended to avoid even more disruptive path conflicts, and this could require official procedures taking up to two years
  • In October 1998, Virgin Trains believed that services would need to stop at Terminals 1, 2, 3 as well as Terminal 4. This causes major security problems, as well as track capacity constraints. Virgin was unable to identify a solution to this problem without sacrificing three of the four terminals. Virgin concluded that it would be difficult in any event to introduce a full service from Heathrow until 2004 at the earliest
  • In June 1999, SNCF (the French national railway) backed a National Express/British Airways plan for trains from Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris. BA said that it expected the service to make a profit of 200m in the first few years of operation
  • In November 1999, the plan to run trains from Paris to Heathrow was rumoured to be shelved

Scrapped Heathrow Orbital Intermediate Modes

1999 Apr 11 up

  • In September 1996, the core alignments were
    • From Harrow & Wealdstone Stn via Station Rd, Harrow-on-the-Hill Stn, Bessborough Rd, Lower Rd, South Harrow Stn, Northolt Rd, Northolt Park Stn, Pett's Hill, Mandeville Rd, Northolt Stn, Church Rd, Yeading Lane, Coldharbour Lane, Hayes Stn, Station Rd, Harlington High St and Bath Rd to Heathrow Central
    • From Uxbridge Stn via Hillingdon Rd, Hillingdon Hill, Harlington Rd, West Drayton Rd, Stockley Rd and M4 Link to Heathrow Central
    • From Kingston Stn via Kingston Bridge, High Street, Upper Teddington Rd, Kingston Rd, High St, Broad St, Hampton Rd, Park Rd, Uxbridge Rd, Hampton Rd East/West, Uxbridge Rd, Hanworth Rd, Feltham Stn, Hounslow Rd, Harlington Rd West, Fagg's Rd, Hatton Cross Stn, Eastern Perimeter Rd, North Hatton Rd and Bath Rd to Heathrow Central
    • From Hatton Cross to Heathrow Terminal 4
    • Alternative alignments would serve West Drayton, Southall, Hounslow or Twickenham
  • In September 1996, London Transport stated that a bus-based solution with some segregation would be most appropriate
  • By February 1999, London Transport seemed to be no longer mentioning this scheme

See How They Run: TPftLA: 1998-2001