Thursday, 27 March 2008

Sunrise at Heathrow Terminal 5

Good morning. You join me on the platform at Hounslow West at stupid o'clock, waiting for this, the first service train to Heathrow Terminal 5:
The first surprise was the wind noise once the train entered the new section of tunnel - it's much louder than anything I've heard anywhere else on the network, including the worst of the Victoria Line. I travelled back from T5 on Heathrow Express, and didn't experience anything similar.

The new station is vast. Each part of the station has a wide concourse with the platforms either side, separated from it by glass walls. Here's the Piccadilly Line concourse, with the Heathrow Express concourse visible to the right behind another glass partition:

The Piccadilly Line has the northernmost island, Heathrow Express is in the middle, with space for AirTrack to the south, though there's a solid wall of plasterboard hiding it from view.

The lifts and escalators come up in the space between the main building and the multi-story car park. The escalators only get you as far as ground level (Arrivals), though this isn't clearly signposted. To reach Departures you need to get the lifts:

The Piccadilly Line and Heathrow Express stations have separate lifts up to the various floors. Here's where the AirTrack station's lifts aren't:

The ticket office for both services is on the ground floor in the main building, with the two entrances and sets of ticket machines either side:

The terminal building itself is also vast, as I'm sure you'll be hearing on TV news all day today:

Access to the building allows a closer view of the ULTra PRT system. Here's the track from ground level, weaving beneath the road access:

Here's where it enters the car park at the terminal end, and you can just see the section that be used as the station. There's no construction visible, just various piles of equipment:

You also get a view of the far end of the track. It looks to now be complete all the way to where it enters the new long stay car park that it's been built to serve:

Finally, London Underground have found the wordiest and most obtuse way of instructing passengers that they really ought to get a direct train to T1,2,3:

(if you're thinking about visiting the terminal, I did several laps around it while openly taking pictures in sight of various staff and police, and got zero hassle or even interest from any of them)


Martin_Petrov said...

Fine work - overall opinion of the terminal - is it as 'worth seeing' as St Pancras? I live out in East London, and I'm wondering whether to make the trip over at the weekend or not. (Personally, I hate Heathrow, and would be overjoyed if a new airport was built somewhere else to solve all the capacity/NIMBY issues, but I'm sure the new terminal is exactly the sort of thing I'd be impressed by....)

Abigail said...

I'll probably be heading over the next time engineering works on the Piccadilly Line cause Oyster to be valid on the Heathrow Express, killing two birds with one stone.

May I note you are hardcore.

Anonymous said...

Didn't see my bags did you?

Heathrow London said...

The new terminal seems to be state of the art. I am looking forward to seeing it.