Newly refurbished Class 387 fleet launched by Heathrow Express
Up-cycled from a fleet previously owned by GWR, the new Heathrow Express trains feature the most up to date train and passenger technology.
Credit: Heathrow Express
Heathrow Express has announced that it has launched a newly refurbished fleet of 12 Class 387 trains, featuring modern interiors and exteriors wrapped in the iconic Heathrow purple. This marks the first fleet refresh since Heathrow Express launched over 20 years ago, in 1998.
In keeping with Heathrow Express’ sustainability values, the fleet has been up-cycled from Great Western Railway (GWR), with upgraded interiors fitted out to a high and exacting standard. The trains also have regenerative braking, which means that trains slow by electric motor, rather than brake shoes and discs. This reduces wear and tear and minimises damage to the train and rails caused by ‘wheel slides’, as well as generating electricity which is fed back into the overhead power grid.
The new fleet features the latest train technology, including the new European Train Control System (ETCS) signalling system, which continuously calculates a safe maximum speed for each train, with cab signalling for the driver and on-board systems that take control if the permissible speed is exceeded. This means that Heathrow Express is at the forefront of the industry-wide roll out of state-of-the-art signalling technology.
Passengers will also have a more comfortable journey, with more space for wheelchair users, double the number of toilets and a continuous gangway through the whole train. In addition, Business First passengers will enjoy worktables and extra legroom.
Replacing the old Class 332s, the new fleet took to the tracks on 29 December 2020 and will provide Heathrow passengers with an unrivalled 15-minute journey, with an even better and more reliable journey with plenty of space, luggage storage and fast on-board 4G enabled Wi-Fi, which will work continuously across Heathrow.
The modern interiors include USB plugs with every plug socket, making it easier for international passengers to charge devices while they travel. Every carriage has more and improved TV screens showing live flight and rail connection updates, daily news highlights and shopping deals at Heathrow.
To welcome in the new trains, Heathrow Express is naming all 12 new trains after cities voted for by the UK public.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in the UK, Heathrow Express is currently running two trains an hour, but is closely monitoring the changing travel landscape and is working with colleagues at Heathrow and across the travel industry to ensure that the service is returned to its regular schedule of every 15 minutes as restrictions ease.
Sophie Chapman, Director of Heathrow Express, said: “I am delighted to introduce the new Heathrow Express 387 fleet, which will provide Heathrow passengers with a modern, reliable train for their journey between Central London and the UK’s hub airport.”
“I am also pleased that Heathrow Express is at the forefront of the industry-wide roll out of state-of-the-art signalling technology, as we are one of the first UK train companies to run the European Train Control System – a huge step forward for the British rail industry. ETCS provides an on-board signalling system which is a gold standard of safety and efficiency,” she added.
Sophie concluded: “We are proud to be serving passengers who need to make essential journeys during lockdown, and they can be reassured that our new trains are subject to a comprehensive anti-bacterial cleaning regime, as well as providing the best and fastest service between Central London and Heathrow.”
Airport Rail Links, Coronavirus/COVID-19, Digitalisation, European Train Control System (ETCS), Operational Performance, Passenger Experience/Satisfaction, Passenger Information Systems (PIS), Real-Time Passenger Information (RTPI), Rolling Stock Orders/Developments, Signalling, Control & Communications, Sustainability/Decarbonisation, Technology & Software, Wi-Fi