Heathrow Express has revealed the first images of its new fleet at the Business Travel Show, which is currently taking place at Olympia London.
The new fleet of Class 387 trains will launch this summer, featuring a new livery, at-seat USB power sockets, more luggage space, and new Business First seating and work tables.
The fleet will be made up of six fully-electric trains formed of eight carriages. Each train will have a total of 374 seats including 44 in Business First, with seats designed in a tweed fabric with “extra comfy cushioning”.
The Business First cabin will have a 2-1 configuration rather than the current 1-1 layout, and seats will be able to tilt into recline.
The trains will also have HD TVs and single sign-on wifi, meaning that customers will be able to stay connected from Paddington Station to the departure gate.
“Connection will be gate to Paddington or vice versa”, says Chris Crauford, Head of Commercial at Heathrow Express.
The new fleet will replace the existing Class 332 fleet which have been in service for 22 years and have seen over 115 million passengers travel more than 44 million miles.
The specially converted fleet will be stored and maintained by GWR at the Reading depot as part of the partnership announced in March 2018.
Commenting on the new fleet, Crauford told Business Traveller:
“The trains are lighter so have a faster acceleration and are therefore more able to make up time if there’s been a delay.”
The new fleet forms part of Heathrow Airport’s sustainability plans, aiming to ensure that at least 50 per cent of air passengers travel by public transport by 2030.
“Us, the Piccadilly Line and the [upcoming] Crossrail are all key levers” in this project, adds Crauford. Rail services to Heathrow will rise from 18 trains per hour to at least 22 trains with the arrival of Crossrail.
Crauford also announced that Heathrow Express is looking to partner with a taxi service so that passengers can add on a taxi trip from Paddington to their home address (or vice versa) when booking a rail ticket. The rail company plans to launch this in the summer alongside the new fleet.
“That last mile or first mile is the critical bit of anyone’s journey. If that’s a hassle then you’re not going to do it so if we can simplify that, then that really increases their levels of consideration for the Heathrow Express”, says Crauford.
Heathrow Express currently carries 18,000 people a day on its non-stop 15-minute trip from London Paddington to Heathrow Airport.
We recently reported on the rail service’s move to a single platform at Paddington station, and the competition with Crossrail here.