Off to Heathrow Area
Widebodies and Short Flights
- Let’s do a challenge
- Off to Heathrow
- Points to be Made vs Economy Class and Beyond – Two idiots race across Heathrow
- Heathrow Terminal 5 and The British Airways Galleries South Lounge
- IB3167 London Heathrow to Madrid (BUSINESS CLASS)
- Crowne Plaza Madrid Airport
- Exploring a bit of Madrid
- Back to Barajas and the Iberia Lounges
- BA461 Madrid to London Heathrow (BUSINESS CLASS/BA FIRST)
- To the trains!
- Two sides of the IAG coin
A start – well 7 am start.
Beep beep beep. Ah. Hello, alarm clock. With my bag packed for the weekend (primarily full of camera gear as opposed to clothes and other things), I dropped my laptop in the bag and headed out of the flat at 7:45 am.
It seems that the rail company who I use to go between Birmingham and London decided to put in diversions all weekend – increasing the rail journey from 1 hour and 40 minutes to a crappy 2 hours and 30.
Thankfully, walk-up fares aren’t that bad still, with a Super Off-Peak return costing a grand total of £31.40
With a cup of coffee from the Centenary Lounge, I headed to the train to try to feel better, and to get down to London.
Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone
Chiltern Railways. Class 168
Price: £31.90 Super-Saver Return (walk-up fare)
With this being the first train of the day – I was expecting it to be busy. It turns out the rail engineering works had scared a lot of people off.
Which suited me.
I got down to work in a set of seats whilst the train took its time going through the West Midlands, Warwickshire and into the Chilterns towards London.
With the train arriving at Princes Risborough, it stopped for a short while. It then reversed, and head for Aylesbury.
Where again, it reversed. It’s like doing the Timewarp again, but without the funky music.
With the train now taking the considerably slower Aylesbury Line to London, there would be a drop in speed as the train raced Metropolitan Lines trains from Amersham all the way to London.
The total price for this change around? A good 50 minutes extra to the journey.
With the train pulling it at London Marylebone, I got off and headed down the platform and through the ticket barriers.
Now, to get to Heathrow…. Or rather the Holiday Inn Ariel. I could cheat and use the Heathrow Express, but I’m too cheap for that sort of game.
So instead, I’m doing one my preferred routes to Heathrow if I have time (and not that much money) – London Underground from Marylebone to Paddington, then TfL Rail to Hayes and Harlington and finally Bus 140 to the Ariel.
A quick tube ride over to Paddington, and I stopped by to check in if people were still looking after the UK’s favourite illegal immigrant and stowaway.
Yes – they were.
I headed back to Platform 12 – to find my train to Hayes and Harlington. And was happy to find a Purple Train (Sorry. Class 345 “Crossrail” train) waiting for me.
TfL Rail London Paddington to Hayes and Harlington – £3.10 Single (via Contactless)
It’s good to see these are now in daily operation – although they’re not serving on Crossrail routes as intended yet (mainly because no one has a good idea when Crossrail/Elizabeth Line is meant to open).
For now, they’re pottering between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield (the eastern section) and London Paddington to Hayes and Harlington (as they are not cleared to enter the Heathrow Airport branch yet… or spread further west until further Crossrail work is done).
So, the Purple trains. Let’s be honest – they’re “People movers”, designed with a mixture of traverse and longitudinal seating. Whilst some find the seating firm, I found it more than passable for my back, but others may find it a little firm.
Or if you need entertainment, head to RailForums and argue over seats there. It makes Aviation seating discussions look civil.
Saying that the trains have a rather fetching moquette on them. Which is nice.
With the trains having a limited service, its useful to catch them to experience what the future of commuting or travelling through Central London will be like. For the airport passenger – even more important as these will connect Heathrow 2 and 3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 directly to Central London, East London and beyond – and that benefit may outweigh the time difference that the Heathrow Express brings.
I got off at Hayes and Harlington and tapped out… and with a short wait for a 140 bus that was heading towards Heathrow Central area.
Whilst the bus becomes “free to use” when it passes Harlington Corner, at this point of the game – it requires a tap with an oyster card or a contactless payment card .. or iPhone
Another tap later, and it was time for the short ride to Harlington Corner.
With me done and dusted, I had hit my deadline time to meet Tim to plan the race … midday on the nose.
I couldn’t have planned this thing even if I tried.
Next: As Tim puts it so elegantly – “Two idiots race across Heathrow Airport”
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