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Pop quiz time: name two fast train services between London’s Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station?
The first one’s easy: it’s the widely-publicised Heathrow Express. The second is HEX’s oft-overlooked cousin, Heathrow Connect.
Heathrow Connect is slower than the Heathrow Express, but it’s also more affordable.
How much slower? It’ll take just under half an hour from ‘Heathrow Central’ – the station for Terminals 1,2 and 3 – to Paddington with five stops along the way, compared to a non-stop 15 minutes on the Heathrow Express.
And while the Heathrow Express runs every 15 minutes, the Heathrow Connect schedule is 30 minutes between services.
But in keeping with being half as fast and half as frequent, the Heathrow Connect is also half the price: £10.10 (as of May 2015) for a one-way ticket, against £21 on the Heathrow Express.
A return ticket closes the gap somewhat, with a there-and-back trip on the Heathrow Connect costing £20.20 compared to £34 on the Heathrow Express – but you’re still almost £15 (A$30) ahead.
You can buy your Heathrow Connect ticket from any Heathrow Express ticket machine – and as with the Heathrow Express, Oyster Cards aren’t accepted.
And the train itself isn’t as flash than their fast-track counterparts: smaller luggage racks, less comfortable seats, no AC power sockets – these are more like standard regional carriages than dedicated airport sets.
All things considered, it’s no surprise that the Heathrow Express gets all the attention. It’s a more pricey but also more polished service, and remains the best way to zip between the airport and Paddington.
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