Heathrow Express will begin rolling out its fleet of fully refurbished trains this week, part of a £16 million investment into the brand that has also seen a new corporate identity developed over the three-year project.
The first refurbished carriages will start service on May 28, with the entire rolling stock upgraded by April 2013.
All of the company’s trains will undergo a complete refit, inside and out, in both Express and First Class carriages. Over 1,300 new components have been introduced from more than 200 suppliers. 260 technical re-designs have been made since the prototype was introduced, following further customer, staff and supplier feedback.
Improvements in Express Class include revised interior seating layouts offering a variety of bay and airline seating, as opposed to the previous forward-facing seats arranged in twos. Moveable arm rests have been added and tables removed, replaced by cup holders and small tables. Lighting throughout the carriages has been changed to more efficient LED lighting, including coloured mood lighting under the seats. All lighting intensifies to signal when the train is arriving at the station, as a visual cue to passengers. At-seat power sockets have also been added, allowing customers to connect and charge laptops and smartphones.
With a business bias in its customer base, design concepts and enhancements were made to align the Heathrow Express brand with airlines. First Class carriages have been refined to increase comfort and service and to reflect an airline experience. Heathrow Express 1st class is the only train in the country to offer single seating throughout the carriage, affording customers more space and privacy.
Keith Greenfield, Managing director of Heathrow Express, said, “Our new fleet will ensure that our customers receive the most relaxing and convenient travel experience possible. I am very proud to unveil our new trains – the result of three years’ hard work. Our new design and technology innovations twinned with excellent service initiatives mean that we offer customers the fastest, most sophisticated travel choice to and from London Heathrow. London’s busy summer starts this week and we are excited to showcase our new fleet as we welcome international visitors to the city for the Diamond Jubilee.”
Heathrow Express launched in 1998 and carries an average of 16,000 passengers a day, to and from Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station. It is the fastest rail link from central London to Heathrow, taking approximately 15 minutes to and from Heathrow Terminals 1 & 3, 25 minutes to Terminal 4 and 21 minutes to Terminal 5.