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

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Half of London Tube and train journeys made with contactless

25/04/2018Half of London Tube and train journeys made with contactless

Half of all Tube and rail pay as you go journeys are regularly made using contactless payment or mobile devices, the latest figures from TfL have r... more >
High-speed handbacks could save NR £250,000 a week

25/04/2018High-speed handbacks could save NR £250,000 a week

New approaches to engineering could potentially save £250,000 a week by allowing trains to run at higher speeds once work is complete, Networ... more >
Government must commit to investment in rail freight connections to ports

25/04/2018Government must commit to investment in rail freight connections to ports

Better connections between English ports could boost the nation’s economy, a new study has shown. The study of England’s port connec... 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

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20/03/2018How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Biometric identity, time and attendance specialists Donseed looks at how biometric technology is already starting to enh... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

UKRIA 2018 Apology & Statement

04/04/2018UKRIA 2018 Apology & Statement

It is with deep regret that I address the disappointing content in both of our live acts at UKRIA on Thursday 22nd March 2018 and offer my most s... more >
Smart ticketing: The way ahead

13/03/2018Smart ticketing: The way ahead

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), runs through the nationwide progress in rolling out ... more >
A benchmark year for HS2

13/03/2018A benchmark year for HS2

Jim Crawford, managing director of Phase 1 at HS2 Ltd, discusses the many critical activities set to take place this year as the mammoth high-spe... more >
The north has a plan

13/03/2018The north has a plan

There has always been an incredible thirst for change in the north. Now, there is finally a plan robust and forward-thinking enough to make it ha... more >