On fast track to marking 18 years of travel
Unique bike vs train race honours the Heathrow Express rail-air link
THE express air-rail link service connecting central London to Heathrow Airport celebrates turning 18 this month.
To mark the special occasion Heathrow Express challenged former British Olympic track cycling champion Victoria Pendleton to a one-on-one speed race.
While Ms Pendleton strapped onboard a 600CC limo-motorbike, Heathrow Express train driver Caroline Davies steered the train to reach the airport first.
Opened in July 1998, Heathrow Express, a business class airport service, was launched to provide a fast connection from London Paddington to the UK’s hub airport in 15 minutes.
In honour of its 18 birthday, a special reduced fare – from £36 to £25 - has been released for customers travelling to and from the airport during the summer months.
Fraser Brown, Heathrow Express Director, said: “We always put our customers first, and by reducing our return fares this summer we hope that more repeat and new customers will benefit from the fastestf t t London-Heathrow commute as they head away for summer holidays and work.”
To date, the service has carried nearly 100 million passengers, an average of 17,000 people a day through its 150 daily services.
The company has a strong workforce of 490 people from over 40 nationalities, with 40% of its drivers women.
Among its fleet of 18year veteran staff, duty manager Brian Keenan recalls once resuscitating an unconscious passenger who had “flat-lined” on his journey to the airport, with quick thinking subsequently saving the passenger’s life.
Mr Brown added: “This special milestone is an opportunity to reflect on our entire team’s dedication to providing a premium and seamless experience whilst also focusing on the innovation that will drive the next 18 years and ensure Heathrow Express continues to be one of world’s quickest leading air-rail links.”
In spring this year, passengers gave the service a 94% satisfaction rating for reliability.
The service also scored highly for overall customer satisfaction, achieving 91% in the same National Rail Passenger Survey in 2016.
In a number of firsts, Heathrow Express made London Paddington the first UK train station with flight information display screens, the first to introduce a mobile e-ticketing app, complementary onboard WiFi, and the world’s first live advertising screens.