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Author Topic: Heathrow Express to transfer to GWR (management contract)  (Read 3535 times)
Ollie
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« on: March 28, 2018, 12:31:34 pm »



Interesting development, not one I saw coming.

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Heathrow Express (‘HEx’) rail service has been preserved to at least 2028 under a new agreement announced today. This agreement, which confirms fast, non-stop rail connections for Heathrow passengers over the next decade, has been approved by the Department for Transport and will see Heathrow Airport retaining the commercial aspects including marketing, ticket pricing and revenue, while FirstGroup’s Great Western Railway (‘GWR’) subsidiary will run the operational aspects of the Heathrow Express service under a management contract from later this year.

As a result of this agreement, a new Heathrow Express Langley depot will no longer be needed. The depot 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.

Heathrow Airport will continue to own the HEx service, and will be responsible for managing rail stations at the airport.  Passengers will also benefit from new ticket readers at Heathrow and Paddington, which will allow users of Heathrow Express and TfL Rail (soon to be Elizabeth line) to use pay as you go Oyster or a contactless device.

GWR will manage the introduction of a new, dedicated fleet of trains for the Heathrow Express 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. Until that time the HEx service will continue to be provided by the existing fleet of trains.

Building an integrated transport hub and ensuring at least 50% of Heathrow’s air passengers travel by public transport by 2030 is a priority for Heathrow.

Full release here: http://www.firstgroupplc.com/news-and-media/latest-news/2018/28-03-18a.aspx
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martyjon
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2018, 12:40:33 pm »

Interesting development, not one I saw coming.


Did anyone ?
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ellendune
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2018, 12:41:01 pm »

So what are these dedicated fleet of trains going to be? And where will they be maintained?
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Timmer
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2018, 12:56:14 pm »

So what are these dedicated fleet of trains going to be? And where will they be maintained?
387s?
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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2018, 12:59:09 pm »

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(‘GWR’) subsidiary will run the operational aspects of the Heathrow Express service

Including drivers? Good luck!
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Ollie
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2018, 01:02:31 pm »

So what are these dedicated fleet of trains going to be? And where will they be maintained?

Keeping current stock for now, but some 387s will be modified for HEX use in 2019.

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(‘GWR’) subsidiary will run the operational aspects of the Heathrow Express service

Including drivers? Good luck!

I guess more detail would come over time, but my guess would be that the existing Heathrow Express drivers will transfer over.
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paul7755
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2018, 01:37:55 pm »

So what are these dedicated fleet of trains going to be? And where will they be maintained?
Reading with the rest of the 387s?    Presumably the incoming 769s will also use Reading, re-using the space currently used by Turbos.

One of the quick wins with this is that the new Hex depot at Langley, approved by an HS1 additional proposals package in 2015, is no longer needed.

Paul
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 01:50:03 pm by paul7755 » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2018, 02:26:25 pm »

... the incoming 769s ...

Did I miss something?  There may be logic for some services in the area ... but I can't recall an announcement (but then I do have my head deep in buses this week!)
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didcotdean
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2018, 04:51:50 pm »

... the incoming 769s ...

Did I miss something?  There may be logic for some services in the area ... but I can't recall an announcement (but then I do have my head deep in buses this week!)

This is what is strongly rumoured, but not yet officially confirmed to be the additional stock to release the 387s for HEX, and displace more 165s to be used further west. It could also enable the TV stopper service to be re-extended to Oxford to eliminate the Didcot-Oxford shuttles.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2018, 06:43:06 pm »

Richard Clinnick from Rail has asked the question &tge 387/1 conversions are the answer
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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2018, 07:51:04 pm »

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I guess more detail would come over time, but my guess would be that the existing Heathrow Express drivers will transfer over.

I agree, but would they remain 100% separate or would drivers be swapped over if necessary. I really don't want to see a situation whereby the HEX service is 'given priority'. ie: the driver for the 17:55 Heathrow is unavailable, therefore the driver for the 17:49 is re-allocated the 17:55. Several hundred Thames Valley bound passengers inconvenienced for a much smaller number of Airport bound passengers.


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... the incoming 769s ...

Nooooooooooo....... Was my first reaction, going back to when the GWML electrification was first announced and rumours were cl.319s would be headed our way as a result. Though reading in to it and thinking about it more it doesn't seem so bad.

From reading elsewhere 12 class 387s will be converted for Heathrow operation, most or even all of these wouldn't be required once crossrail takes over services as far as Reading.

19 class 769s would replace many of the remaining turbos which would head west. This would allow exclusive use of 769s on the North Downs, whilst could also be used on Basingstoke, Newbury, Windsor, Henley and Bourne End services. Marlow and Greenford services would remain as 165s.
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a-driver
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2018, 09:15:52 pm »

Heathrow Express staff will transfer to GWR under TUPE arrangements.

A smart move by First.  Those Cl. 387's will be surplus once CrossRail starts so I would imagine the DfT would have transferred the units to another operator.  With this arrangement, GWR keep the units, the Heathrow Express will eventually cease to operate (who's going to want to travel on an express service from Heathrow to Padd only to have to change back onto a CrossRail service at Padd?).  Once the Heathrow Express service ceases to run those 12 units could be reassigned to run Oxford stoppers once it is electrified, a Reading to Heathrow service once constructed or used on the North Downs.  Not only would GWR benefit from keeping the surplus 387' but also inherit a number of qualified drivers.
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4064ReadingAbbey
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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2018, 10:12:36 pm »

Heathrow Express staff will transfer to GWR under TUPE arrangements.

A smart move by First.  Those Cl. 387's will be surplus once CrossRail starts so I would imagine the DfT would have transferred the units to another operator.  With this arrangement, GWR keep the units, the Heathrow Express will eventually cease to operate (who's going to want to travel on an express service from Heathrow to Padd only to have to change back onto a CrossRail service at Padd?).  Once the Heathrow Express service ceases to run those 12 units could be reassigned to run Oxford stoppers once it is electrified, a Reading to Heathrow service once constructed or used on the North Downs.  Not only would GWR benefit from keeping the surplus 387' but also inherit a number of qualified drivers.
I think it probably goes further than you suggest. The press release gives a heavy hint that the DfT will be 'progressing' the proposed western - to the GWML - and southern - to the South Western main line - routes from Terminal 5. The first of these goes to its final statutory public consultation in the next few weeks. If all goes well this means that the way is clear for construction to start and I suspect that the DfT will set up a special-purpose company - like HS2 Ltd or East-West Rail Ltd - to push things along faster than Network Rail seems to be able to do. I would guess that the new connection could be ready in five or six years time - well before the end of the 10 year agreement mentioned in the press release. The link to the South Western may take a couple of years longer.

So HEx, far from ceasing, will evolve into a fast service from Paddington to Heathrow which will project to at least Reading and, using the 750v dc capability of the 387s, go through to Guildford and, possibly, Basingstoke. After all the press release states
Quote
This agreement, which confirms fast, non-stop rail connections for Heathrow passengers over the next decade,
. This makes sense, its operating costs will be reduced as the need for its own maintenance depot will disappear and the trains will use the shared facilities at Reading and it will attract a whole new market from the areas south west of Heathrow for easy connection to western London and Crossrail at Paddington and avoid the detour via Waterloo. Some Heathrow to central London passengers may switch to Crossrail but it will pick up a new source of passengers and revenue.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2018, 11:17:32 pm »

A very interesting development.  I have concerns about the Class 769s performance and reliability wise compared with the Turbos they look likely to replace.  Performance wise, a 4-car unit with two powered vehicles means those engines will need a fair bit of oomph to match Turbo acceleration, especially on the hilly North Downs route.  Reliability wise, if one of those engines were to fail, performance of the unit would be severely compromised.  These conversions have yet to be tested yet (following delays) - it seems many people are happy to pour scorn over the prospects of the Vivarail 230s, but seem happy to accept that 769s will have no problems.
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mjones
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2018, 09:10:30 am »

Heathrow Express staff will transfer to GWR under TUPE arrangements.

A smart move by First.  Those Cl. 387's will be surplus once CrossRail starts so I would imagine the DfT would have transferred the units to another operator.  With this arrangement, GWR keep the units, the Heathrow Express will eventually cease to operate (who's going to want to travel on an express service from Heathrow to Padd only to have to change back onto a CrossRail service at Padd?).  Once the Heathrow Express service ceases to run those 12 units could be reassigned to run Oxford stoppers once it is electrified, a Reading to Heathrow service once constructed or used on the North Downs.  Not only would GWR benefit from keeping the surplus 387' but also inherit a number of qualified drivers.

Depends on what information people have about the choices available and how they are promoted.  There must be lots of new visitors to London who get collared at the Heathrow Express sales booths that you reach long before you get to the Underground entrance. It must be extremely annoying to shell out for the Express fare to Paddington only to find yourself completing the journey by Underground and realising you could have used it all the way at much lower cost.
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