Sunday Times reports that Heathrow wants to recoup its Crossrail costs by extra charges for passengers

The Crossrail link to Heathrow is due to open by the end of 2019, and it is expected that this will cut the travel time from Liverpool Street station to Heathrow from 55 minutes to 34 minutes. Heathrow built and paid for a 5.3 mile long stretch of line linking its terminals with the main line to Paddington station. But the Sunday Times reports that now Heathrow wants to recoup the cost of building this stretch of line, which was completed almost 20 years ago, from users of Crossrail. The DfT estimates that meeting Heathrow’s claim could add over £40m on to the annual cost of running Crossrail. The DfT believes Heathrow should not get this money back. If Heathrow gets its way, rail passengers would have to pay inflated prices to travel to Heathrow. Transport for London (TfL), which will oversee Crossrail, will have to decide whether to claw back the cost through ticket prices on the line, or spread it across the whole of London’s transport network. Heathrow says it paid over £1 billion for the tracks, trains and depots, and to get this back, it wants a fee of £597, plus a maintenance charge of £138, to be paid by Crossrail every time one of its trains uses the line. Heathrow also owns Heathrow Express, Britain’s most expensive train service (£26.50 from Paddington to Heathrow). The decision on any financial deal will be in the hands of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).



Heathrow starts fight over bill for Crossrail link

Travellers could be hit with a surcharge as airport demands £40m a year from operator of flagship London project

By John Collingridge (Sunday Times)
27 December 2015
Travellers to Heathrow could end up footing the bill for its row with Crossrail

A ROW has erupted over who should foot the bill for a stretch of line that connects Heathrow’s overground stations to Crossrail, the newest rail network in London.


Heathrow said European rules meant it had to introduce charges: “Under this approach, Heathrow will recover the long term rail infrastructure costs in a fair and transparent manner.”

The Department for Transport said: “As a joint sponsor of the [Crossrail] project, we oppose increased charges to train operators to access the Heathrow spur. As supporters of the growth agenda, we recognise the important role the private sector plays in bearing its fair share of these costs, particularly where they are benefiting now and more so in the future.”

Full article in the Sunday Times at




The western section of Crossrail is on the surface from Reading to Acton Main Line, with an underground spur to Heathrow Airport, and upgrading stations: Maidenhead, Taplow, Burnham, Slough, Langley, Iver, West Drayton, Hayes and Harlington,Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Acton Main Line. Reading station has already been redeveloped.

The Heathrow branch includes stations at Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Central and joins the main route at Airport Junction, between West Drayton and Hayes & Harlington.

Crossrail had been planned to end at Maidenhead, with an extension to Reading safeguarded. On 27 March 2014, it was announced that the line would go to Reading.

The RUS (Route Utilisation Strategy) also proposes integrating Heathrow Express services from Heathrow Terminal 5 into Crossrail to relieve the GWML and reduce the need for passengers to change at Paddington.


  • The Crossrail route will run over 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
  • There will be 40 Crossrail stations including 10 new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich and Abbey Wood.
  • Crossrail will bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London and will link London’s key employment, leisure and business districts – Heathrow, West End, the City, Docklands – enabling further economic development.
  • The first Crossrail services through central London will start in late 2018 – an estimated 200 million annual passengers will use Crossrail.
  • Construction of the new railway will support regeneration across the capital and add an estimated £42bn to the economy of the UK.
  • The total funding envelope available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn.


Moreover, Crossrail will make accessing our major international gateways like London Heathrow more accessible – for instance, the journey time from London Heathrow to the City of London (Liverpool Street) will fall from 55 to 34 minutes.




    • Major fit-out of stations and tunnels continues as does the major upgrade of the existing rail network for Crossrail services by Network Rail.


    • The first new Crossrail rolling stock will start to replace existing suburban trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.


    • In late 2018, the first Crossrail services will start through the central London tunnelled section.


    • In late 2019, the full Crossrail service will be operating from Heathrow and Reading to Abbey Wood and Shenfield.