London’s premier rail link to Heathrow has acquired “new” trains.
Heathrow Express now operates a 12 strong fleet of GWR class 387 trains refurbished to meet the operator’s standards.
Journey time will continue to be 15 minutes, but service frequency (at present) is twice rather than four times an hour.
These trains have the latest technology along with the latest onboard facilities like USB points, TV information screens and so on.
Sadly in my opinion the latest trains lack the distinctive appearance of the originals launched in 1998.
For comparison here is today’s train:
Happy New Year and Hello 2021! 🎉
We're looking forward to another year of Connecting London with the World. 🚄✈️🌍 pic.twitter.com/xAxdFAyDQT
— Heathrow Express (@HeathrowExpress) January 1, 2021
And here is the original:
Today we're saying farewell to our Class 332 trains.
After serving us very well over the past 25 years, they are making their final journeys before introducing our new fleet tomorrow.
Wave the 332s goodbye and say hello to the 387s. 👋🚄 pic.twitter.com/D3UcC3pk1U
— Heathrow Express (@HeathrowExpress) December 28, 2020
Why are the two so different? It is because at that time Heathrow Express (including the tracks into the airport) was funded by the then operator BAA.
The latter commissioned something ‘different’. Although Heathrow Express retains today’s Heathrow management, its trains are operated by GWR.
It’s expected all the originals will be scrapped despite being relatively young by industry standards.
One rail fan tweeted a video of several being towed to a scrapyard at Newport.
— Tony P (@TonyP146) January 12, 2021
One minus point of the new trainsets might be the lack of step-free access as found previously.
I say that because being able to move a wheelchair or heavy luggage level onto a train (with no gaps in between) is a boon.
And let’s hope the onboard toilets do not fail. Previously readers had complained to Business Traveller about them sometimes being out of order.
Readers might think this is a small point but Heathrow Express is sold as a premium product and its passengers may have arrived off a long distance flight.
Sophie Chapman, director Heathrow Express, said:
“I am delighted to introduce the new Heathrow Express 387 fleet, which will provide Heathrow passengers with a modern reliable train between Central London and the UK’s hub airport.”
In response to step-free access the operator told Business Traveller “Our new Class 387 trains will still allow for level boarding at both Paddington and Heathrow platforms and we are adding additional modifications to reduce the gap between the trains and the platforms to make it even easier for passengers to travel with us.”
So what do you, the readers, think of these refurbished trains? Please leave your comments below.