Latest Rail News

04.04.18

GWR takeover deal preserves Heathrow Express until 2028

Great Western Railway (GWR), subsidiary of FirstGroup, has reached an agreement with the government which means it will run the operational aspects of the Heathrow service under a management contract from later this year.

While Heathrow will retain control of services such as marketing, ticket pricing and revenue, GWR will take over the actual running of the franchise until 2028, effectively swallowing it up as part of its own franchise.

GWR will manage the introduction of a new, dedicated fleet of trains for the Heathrow service, which will be specially converted by December 2019 to provide First Class carriages, high-speed wi-fi, additional luggage racks, and on-board entertainment.

As a result of the agreement, a new Heathrow Express Langley depot – which would have been required to service trains because the HS2 building schedule requires HEx to vacate the Old Oak Common depot by the end of 2019 – will no longer be needed.

Next month the initial phase of Heathrow Crossrail services will be introduced, and from December 2019, with the full opening of the Elizabeth Line, rail services into Heathrow will increase from 18 trains an hour to at least 22 trains an hour.

Heathrow, the DfT, TfL and Network Rail are conducting a joint feasibility study into increasing the frequency of Elizabeth Line trains from six to eight trains an hour by the mid-2020s.

Tim O’Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup, said that the agreement demonstrates that the transport industry is working in partnership for the benefit of passengers.

“We are an experienced rail operator with a strong track record in delivering customer improvements, and through this management contract we look forward to building on this operational expertise, as we work with Heathrow to bring in a dedicated fleet of high-specification trains that will help keep people moving and communities prospering in the future,” he added.

Chief executive of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, also commented: “This agreement secures convenient and reliable public transport journeys to Heathrow in this decade and beyond.  

“We have ambitious plans to transform rail journeys into the airport, and our passengers will reap the benefits of having Heathrow at the heart of an integrated, sustainable transport network.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

20/07/2018TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

A landmark collaboration between two of the UK’s biggest regions has been signed to pave the way to improve rail transport between the area... more >
DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

19/07/2018DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

GTR could be at risk of losing control of its franchise as early as this month depending on the outcome of a “hard review” into wheth... more >
Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

19/07/2018Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

HS2 Ltd’s outgoing chairman, Sir David Higgins, has urged the government to make a decision on proposals to create a parkway station on the... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >
Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE)... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

17/07/2018Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth Line, outlines the key features of the brand-new, eco-friendly Old Oak Common de... more >
iRail: investing in the future

17/07/2018iRail: investing in the future

The rail industry today faces many challenges, one of those being the skills gap in high- speed rail. However, events like iRail are doing their ... more >
HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE)... more >
Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

17/07/2018Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

Hydrogen-powered trains are already a reality in other rail networks in Europe. Now, working alongside Eversholt Rail, Alstom UK plans to bring t... more >