Britain’s most expensive railway Heathrow Express slashes fares

Britain’s most expensive railway is slashing fares ahead of the opening of Crossrail.

The Heathrow Express runs from London Paddington to terminals 2 and 3 at Britain’s busiest airport in 15 minutes, with an extra six minutes to terminal 5.

The “Anytime” one-way fare is £25, a price per mile of over £1.60.

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A slightly cheaper off-peak single, avoiding rush hours, is £22.

Advance tickets costing £12.50 have been available on weekdays for travellers booking three months ahead, with cheaper deals for weekend travel.

Now the premium rail link is cutting the lowest fare to £5.50 on every day of the week. Once the cheapest tickets have gone, the fare will increase progressively to £16.50, depending on availability.

On test bookings made by The Independent, there were no cheap tickets a week ahead. One or two months ahead, fares of £7.50 are available. The lowest fare, £5.50, is guaranteed to be available three months ahead.

The tickets specify a day, but not a time, allowing users to travel at peak times and eliminating concerns if a flight arrives late.

Children under 16 travel free with accompanying adults.

Les Freer, director of the link, said: “Speed and convenience is crucial to Heathrow Express customers who have rated us top in the National Rail Passenger Survey three times in a row.”

The Heathrow Express opened in 1998 and has been the only fast link to the airport ever since. At present the service carries 17,000 people a day.

But concern about effect of Crossrail has triggered the fare cut. Once this link, to be known as the Elizabeth Line, opens through central London, the Heathrow Express edge will erode.

It will offer direct and reasonably fast services to Heathrow airport from a range of London stations, including Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.

Fares from central London will be in line with existing Transport for London fare zones – currently a cash fare of £6, a peak contactless fare of £5.10 and an off-peak fare of £3.10.

Crossrail was originally due to open in December 2018, but is running around two years late.

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