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Heathrow Hatred: Train To T4 And T5  
User currently offlineMeristem From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 73 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5606 times:

Last month was my second extensive experience with LHR, and my husband's first. Although there is much we could comment on, being unable to board the train line to and from T4 and T5 with the luggage cart remains high in our list codenamed "Huh?".

We had just finished 4 weeks in Europe and had a cart with 3 bags and 2 backpacks. Others had carts much fuller, specially those traveling with families and young children. Invariably, just like us, folks would get to the platform entrance and just stop and stare-- although the service links airport terminals, one cannot take the luggage cars onto the train platform.

This may be related to the same train line serving as link to downtown London. However, it is inconvenient and caused many folks to miss the train (they are not that frequent, we waited 27 minutes for the next one on a week day).

The setup did not strike us as traveler-friendly. I'd like to hear how other airports managed this challenge, from folks who have experience with transit setups similar to LHR. It would also be helpful to learn the reason for the choices at LHR, if anyone here knows.

Thanks,
AM


Curiosity killed that cat. I still have some lives left.
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1014 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5565 times:

You just don't find baggage carts allowed onto railway station platforms in the UK - and quite right too! Far too much risk when passengers end up leaving carts unattended on platforms when they board a train and the subsequent possibility of the cart ending up on the tracks.

A


User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5555 times:

Quoting Meristem (Thread starter):
one cannot take the luggage cars onto the train platform.



Quoting AndyEastMids (Reply 1):
when passengers end up leaving carts unattended on platforms when they board a train and the subsequent possibility of the cart ending up on the tracks.

Combination of reasons but principally because of UK Health & Safety Laws (an unused luggage cart would be an obstruction and a potential danger if it fell on the track). Remember that a discarded cart on the platform could be sucked into the path of a speeding train with disastrous consequences.

The problems could be addressed if they employed sufficient staff to round up all the unused carts but with some platforms being an average 160m, and often stations having two platforms or more, this would necessitate many staff being engaged 24/7 and would be prohibitively expensive. The cheaper solution is to prevent carts being taken onto the platform.

Porters to assist passengers with their luggage at UK rail stations are practicially non-existent.

[Edited 2009-09-10 05:25:24]


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User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5528 times:

If you were transferring between T4 & T5 as this seems to suggest, BAA have buses for this purpose which travel every few minutes. You can wheel your bags on a cart to the bus, and get another cart at the other end. If you wished to travel further afield BAA aren't going to let you take their cart with you are they ?

To me it appears to be standard airport practice across the World to keep luggage carts off of connecting trains, monorails etc. They are not designed to be wheeled onto trains, and would be exceedingly dangerous during accleration and decelleration, as they may move, or indeed stay put and the cases fall off.


User currently offlineLHR380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5518 times:

You can wheel you bags to the bus stop for the 490 and 482 public buses, and then pick up a cart at T5. Or you can buy thru tickets and then just follow flight connections and not worry about your bags.

User currently offlineMeristem From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5515 times:

Sorry for lack of clarity-- we were moving from T3 to T4.
I had not thought about the risk of loose luggage carts on the platform; my mental picture (clearly too restricted) was of taking the cart into the train. I'll assume the train moves at faster speeds than monorail systems such as in JFK or SFO, as the carts can be carried into those. Any idea of the speed of the LHR trains between terminals?

AM



Curiosity killed that cat. I still have some lives left.
User currently offlineLHR380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5513 times:



Quoting Meristem (Reply 5):
Sorry for lack of clarity-- we were moving from T3 to T4.
I had not thought about the risk of loose luggage carts on the platform; my mental picture (clearly too restricted) was of taking the cart into the train. I'll assume the train moves at faster speeds than monorail systems such as in JFK or SFO, as the carts can be carried into those. Any idea of the speed of the LHR trains between terminals?

T3-T4, why does it say T4-T5 in your thread title?

Anywho, the trains would not take luggage trolleys. They are normal underground trains and city trains (Connect and LHRexpress operate to London)and have no room for luggage trolleys on them. Underground as it is is not really suited for lots of luggage when busy


User currently offlineMeristem From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5509 times:



Quoting LHR380 (Reply 6):
T3-T4, why does it say T4-T5 in your thread title?

The train is used to link T1-3 ,which are clustered together, to T4-5, which are farther away from the T1-3 cluster. The thread title was not indicating the terminals for which I used the train. It was indicating "the train that links one side of LHR to the separate set of T4 and T5"



Curiosity killed that cat. I still have some lives left.
User currently offlineJER757 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 350 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5487 times:

People would also wheel their trolleys onto the train and leave them on there. Then you'd end up with hundreds of trolleys at Paddington; a busy enough place as it is!


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User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11153 posts, RR: 59
Reply 9, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5476 times:



Quoting Meristem (Reply 7):
The train is used to link T1-3 ,which are clustered together, to T4-5, which are farther away from the T1-3 cluster. The thread title was not indicating the terminals for which I used the train. It was indicating "the train that links one side of LHR to the separate set of T4 and T5"

The train from T1/T2/T3 to T5 is the Heathrow Express which comes from Paddington Station.

The train from T1/T2/T3 to T4 is the Heathrow Connect which also comes from Paddington Station and is like the Heathrow Express except it makes a few stops on the way.

Both of these are just regular trains which you can ride for free when changing terminals at Heathrow. They are not Airport People Movers designed specifically for inter-terminal travel.



"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineMeristem From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5460 times:

Thanks all for the data and perspective  Smile


Curiosity killed that cat. I still have some lives left.
User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2638 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5453 times:



Quoting Meristem (Reply 5):
I'll assume the train moves at faster speeds than monorail systems such as in JFK or SFO,

I don't know the JFK system, but the system at SFO is not a monorail.



Pancakes are delicious.
User currently offlineLHRBFSTrident From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 655 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5446 times:



Quoting Airstud (Reply 11):


Quoting Meristem (Reply 5):
I'll assume the train moves at faster speeds than monorail systems such as in JFK or SFO,

I don't know the JFK system, but the system at SFO is not a monorail.


IIRC the JFK system has enclosed station platforms - when the train pulls in the carriage doors line up with the platform doors and both open simultaneously.

Enclosed platforms eliminate the risk of trolleys falling onto the tracks.

Of course, the JFK Airtrain is only a few years old, whereas the London Underground line that serves T1,2,3 was opened in approx 1975, with the extension to T4 in the 1980s with the construction of that facility.

In common with LHR's infrastructure, JFK suffers from a basically 1960s design which has seen many updates and 'improvements' over the years superimposed upon the original concept - this results in some anomalies there too, such as having to exit some terminals and traipse across car-parks, and high kerbs lacking trolley-friendly ramps, in driving snow or insufferable heat to get to the Airtrain - another 'huh?' moment for sure



Next up: LAX-LHR NZ002 Y SkyCouch! LHR-LAX NZ001 Y
User currently offlineExFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 5411 times:



Quoting LHRBFSTrident (Reply 12):
In common with LHR's infrastructure, JFK suffers from a basically 1960s design which has seen many updates and 'improvements' over the years superimposed upon the original concept

AirTrain suffers from being a compromise, both for speed of construction and price. Because all of JFK's terminals are radically different designs and different heights, it wasn't possible to design AirTrain to go on top of the terminals (as the craptacular monorail does at EWR) without a lot of hassle and additional expense. The design problems were further compounded by the timing - AirTrain opened in 2003, while the new T8 opened in stages between 2005 and 2007 and the new T5 only opened last year, so the design for T5 wasn't even finalized before construction on AirTrain was completed. This led to further compromise, as the combined T5/T6 station wasn't optimal for either and the design for T5 was further complicated by the need to preserve the old TWA building.

The system would work better if it was underground and escalators/elevators could go directly from the platform into the various terminals, but this would have increased costs dramatically.

LHR elected to just go ahead and spend the extra money and have Heathrow Express connect underground, which since it's also a train that runs all the way into London itself makes sense. If AirTrain had been designed as a "one-seat" ride all the way into Manhattan, the Port Authority probably would have gone with an underground design, either in a loop or with some sort of smaller people-mover shuttling passengers from the various terminals to a central train station.

Of course, underground has its problems too - sometimes getting from Heathrow T4 to the Heathrow Express platform I expected to pass coal miners on the escalators! Building underground may shorten distance, but not time if there's interminable escalator rides or waiting for elevators involved.


User currently offlineBabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5291 times:

In the interests of safety and economy it really is better that airport trolleys stay in the airport.

Imagine getting on the tube at LHR and taking your trolley all the way to the hotel that might be anywhere in London or beyond.

Four weeks is a long time and involved lots of suitcases but wouldn't it have been better to take smaller cases and just washed the contents more often?
Most high streets and hotels have laundry facilities.


User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2638 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5154 times:

SERIOUSLY, the AirTrain at SFO is __--->>NOT<<--___ a "monorail."


Pancakes are delicious.
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