A train service connecting Paddington with Heathrow is undercutting the Heathrow Express by £5.50.
The Heathrow Connect service, launched on June 12, costs £9.50 for a single ticket compared to the £14 charged by Heathrow Express for the same trip. The saving on a return ticket is £7 because Heathrow Express prices its return at £26, while Heathrow Connect charges £19.
In addition, national railcards including Senior Railcards, Young Persons Railcards and tickets like Business Savers are valid on Heathrow Connect.
However, Heathrow Connect has not been launched to rival the airport express train. It makes five stops at westLondon stations before reaching the airport so takes 25 minutes to travel from Paddington to Heathrow compared to the 15 minutes taken by Heathrow Express.
As well as offering a cheaper service from Paddington, albeit less speedy, Heathrow Connect stops at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall, and Hayes (see map), meaning that residents of west London and the western suburbs no longer need to back track to Paddington in order to travel to Heathrow by train.
Heathrow Connect could also be the only train service stopping at Heathrow's Terminal 4 once Terminal 5 opens in March 2008. This is according to preliminary plans laid out by airports operator, BAA, concerning the operation of the new terminal, although this is still subject to discussion.
Heathrow Connect operates its first trains from Paddington at4.42am and the last train at 23.08, with trains every 30 minutes for most of the day. The first Heathrow Express train pulls out of Paddington at5.10am and the last one at 23.25, with trains operating every 15 minutes for most of the day.
Go to www.heathrowconnect.com and www.heathrowexpress.com.
Report by Ginny McGrath