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Thursday 27th April 2023 - HEATHROW Express has partnered with one of the country’s leading wheelchair basketball teams, London Titans, and launched a new ‘Heathrow Express charter’ to highlight the accessibility of its service.
The charter was created by Heathrow Express to support the team’s travel to this year’s EuroCup tournament, with the Titans travelling to the Finals in Turkey this week, and ensure a suitable experience on its trains for everyone by making accessibility for all a priority.
The charter’s goals are to continuously improve the quality of its accessible travel offering, deliver the commitments within its Accessible Travel Policy, and to cater for its passengers’ wide ranging needs so that everyone can use the service confidently.
As the only rail airport transfer service with completely step-free access, it includes maintaining this so that passengers with wheelchairs and mobility aids can travel from train to plane and back again with ease.
Heathrow Express has also partnered with mobility charities and organisations to understand the needs of every passenger and to ensure its staff receive regular training that enables them to deliver a service that is accessible to all.
London Titans’ coach Matt Sealy has praised the difference Heathrow Express’s support has made to himself and his players, which include Paralympic icon and BBC personality Ade Adepitan.
Speaking from the Eurocup tournament in Bosnia last month, he said: “Heathrow and Heathrow Express have helped our club enormously. I wouldn’t be sitting here in Bosnia without both of those companies' support. EuroCup is very important for some of these players in being seen, especially young players, who are aspiring to be future GB players. They play at this level, and they get seen by international coaches. It makes a big difference to their careers.
“I have been travelling internationally as a wheelchair user since the age of 3. I am now approaching 41, and to say accessibility in the travel industry has improved during this time is a huge understatement! I've noticed so many changes in this time with a huge focus on attention to individual needs, for not just wheelchair users but vast other disabilities.
“The most important need for myself has been the understanding of organisations, such as Heathrow Airport and Heathrow Express, to see my wheelchair as a part of me, and not a piece of luggage. It is the only time my wheelchair leaves my body so I have to have complete confidence that it is being handled and looked after with utmost care and attention.
“Thankfully I get this reassurance from the moment of booking my travel, through to greeting staff at airport check in desks or train terminal platforms. When these staff talk to me with confident action plans of every process through the airport of where my chair goes once I board a plane and where it will be going and waiting for me at my destination, this vastly improves my confidence to travel independently.
Daniel Edwards, Business Lead, at Heathrow Express added: “We are delighted to be partnering with The London Titans in our 25th anniversary year and launching our new Heathrow Express charter. We already carry around 25,000 travellers a day between Paddington Station and Heathrow Airport and want to set and maintain new standards to encourage more travellers to this service.
“This means making sure everyone can look forward to a great experience, with peace of mind knowing that the facilities are globally recognised as compliant for all and that they will receive a warm human welcome at every stage.
There are highly trained colleagues onboard up and down the route to be on hand for any requests and we also pride ourselves in offering customers the spaces and features they need, like lots of luggage space, dedicated wheelchair areas, accessible toilets, and passenger information onboard.”
The Heathrow Express charter: top five goals for 2023:
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About Heathrow Express
Heathrow Express, celebrating 25 years old this year, is a premium non-stop train service between London Paddington to Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 with an extra six minutes to Terminal 5 and a free transfer available to Terminal 4. With its electric trains taking 15 minutes, it provides the fastest, most reliable and sustainable way to travel to and from Britain’s hub airport. As a dedicated airport service, it also offers passengers a calm and comfortable way to travel with its spacious cabins designed to provide extra capacity for Luggage.
About London Titans
London Titans Wheelchair Basketball Club has been running for over thirty years, during this period the club has grown to be one of the largest in the UK with over 70 members across 8 teams. Across 3 London venues, in the boroughs of Waltham Forest, Ealing and Harrow. Our Premier team are the current National League Champion 2021/22 and have finished at the top of the league table again this season ready to defend the title. Whilst our under 18 junior team have recently came third and our Women’s League Division 1 team topped the table.
Sport or at least access to sport is something most of us take for granted, for disabled people it is not nearly so accessible, but at London Titans, we believe in the power of sport and its ability to transform lives, we call this #TitanPride. Encouraging people to become more consistently active, we have and can continue to help them establish a stronger personal connection to sport and physical activity. Providing an environment where people socialise, gain confidence and all the health benefits you would expect from this fast-paced and physically demanding sport. Our pride impacts every aspect of our team’s lives, their family and friends. If you are interested in volunteering your time, trying a new sport and get involved, get in touch.
The Heathrow Express celebrates a great 25yrs of service this year and we thought it fitting to shed some light on a bit of the history of this Hex-cellent train, and the fantastic benefits it has had for our Heathrow customers.
The construction of HEx first commenced 30 years ago in 1993 with two 5-mile tunnels and two new underground stations being built.
The first fast train was initially launched 5 years later in 1998, and the final and official HEx launch took place on 23rd June 1998 by Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Over the past 25 years, the Heathrow Express has witnessed and experienced a few key and memorable moments that are worth shining some light on as we celebrate a quarter of a century of amazing service.
Customers on board the HEx could stay connected by using the first pay phone on the train which meant they could speak with family and friends anywhere at the touch of a few buttons!
Paddington Station became home to the first flight information screens in a UK rail station, so passengers could see live flight information before even stepping foot in the airport.
HEx played a major role during the London Olympics by transporting all the officials and media for free during the duration of the games.
HEx celebrated its 15th birthday with a live cake construction of a 332-driver carriage taking place on the platform.
Kids Go Free was introduced as a permanent offer, so any child under the age of 15 can travel for free when accompanied by an adult.
The world’s first digital advertising screens hit the airport, promoting HEx amongst other airport services. They have won several awards since their launch.
HEx celebrated reaching 100 million passengers with a HExibition in Paddington, featuring Instagram sensation Dave Burt taking pictures to mark the special occasion.
This was a big year for HEx with COVID-19 meaning social distancing, masks, sanitising and the lowest number of passengers on record.
The year ended with the farewell of Class 332 as it made its last journey on 28th December. This was the last day of planned journeys for the 25-year-old train.
On 29th December the New Class 387 fleet was launched and welcomed despite the national lockdown situation happening at the time, ending 2020 on a heal high note!
Heathrow Express has launched a series of short films to mark 25 years of transporting people to and from the UK’s biggest airport since its launch in 1998. The series – titled The Luggage Diaries – celebrates its many diverse passengers with their valuable and often unique cargo.
The films have been released ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest weeks of the year during the February half term. The Luggage Diaries reveals the stories of three case studies with precious possessions, including a world-renowned cellist who has toured with Madonna, an horologist who owns over 10 watches, and a Newquay-based surfer who travels the world in search of her next big wave.
Since it launched, over 100 million passengers have taken the 15-minute journey on the Heathrow Express, which carries 30,000 cases a day or 11 million a year – or 300 million cases since its launch.
New data released today reveals that train journeys to the airport have recently soared as demand returns to pre-pandemic levels, with 2022 seeing a 282 per cent increase in passengers compared to 2021. Monday 6th June was the busiest day of travel last year as the nation celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.
Heathrow Express research also reveals the average passenger travels with one piece of hold luggage and one piece of hand luggage. The most commonly carried items are food and drink (33 per cent), followed by souvenirs (25 per cent), occasion wear (14 per cent) and sports equipment (12 per cent).
The most unique items that have been on board the Heathrow Express have included a didgeridoo, an Arizona cactus, a sombrero, a singular rose, a full tea set and even a slow cooker.
The top items Heathrow Express passengers say they can’t travel without are their phone (71 per cent), chargers and adaptors (54 per cent), toiletries (46 per cent) and their laptop (43 per cent).
The Luggage Diaries consists of the following three episodes:
Episode 1: The Cellist
A day in the life of Chris Humphrys, cellist extraordinaire who has toured with stars including Madonna, where he travels around the world with his precious cello.
Episode 2: The Watch Lover
Horologist Justin Hast reveals why the Heathrow Express is the only method of transport he chooses when taking his valuable watches to the airport.
Episode 3: The Surfer
International surfer Clare James embarks on a surf adventure with a couple of friends, taking her board and sports luggage on board the Heathrow Express.
Daniel Edwards, Business Lead at Heathrow Express, said:
“Twenty five years is a landmark milestone for us. We’re thrilled to celebrate the hundreds of millions of passengers we’ve transported since launch, and the interesting cargo that they often bring with them. They know that when they hop on board the fastest, non-stop link to the airport, they avoid that ‘luggage anxiety’factor. Heathrow Express’ spacious, tranquil train carriages allow passengers to instantly relax – and if they need help, there are customer service colleagues onboard to assist. We look forward to transporting many more people and their cargo for years to come.”
The three-part series is available to watch today at https://tinyurl.com/49w4n6d3
Want to know how to travel like a world class explorer? Then read our guide on where to find real adventure this winter. The celebrated video of Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE in which he announces he’s leaving the UK this year to head off in ‘search of the spirit of Christmas’ has been an industry acclaimed winner in the Christmas ad stakes. In response to massive demand, we’re sharing insights into how the film was made – and how you can also follow in his footsteps to northern Norway – to hop on board the Arctic Train from Narvik, as seen in the video.
Heathrow Express’ PR team collaborated with London’s talented production company, Yada-Yada to pull together the concept with Sir Ranulph and his team of advisors. The most vivid memory which Sir Ranulph (or ‘Ran’ as he prefers to be called) speaks of being alone in the world’s most remote places, in extreme circumstances at Christmas time. Many of us can empathise, if away for work and apart from our loved ones. We often forget that our bravest of explorers are no different.
The main element of the storytelling was the letter which Sir Ranulph had to write to his family. He wrote a letter to them on beautiful headed notepaper, saying that he was sorry he’d not be joining them for turkey and trimmings as he was off to the North Pole. The most heart-warming message is that wherever we find ourselves, we are most comforted by being surrounded by love and goodwill.
The video featured the famous ‘Arctic Train’ which weaves its way through a stunning snowy Nordic landscape as it leaves the city of Narvik and the stunning St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. And Paddington Station, of course, platforms 6 and 7. Our home.
Travelling to Norway could not be easier; hop on board the Heathrow Express from Paddington to Heathrow airport. Book any of six daily flights to Narvik Evenes (EVE) airport via Oslo (OSL). Express buses to Narvik correspond to most of the flight arrivals from Oslo. Norway was recently voted ‘the safest country in the world to visit’. It’s also the best place to see the northern lights, now the UK’s number one bucket list activity. The Arctic Train is an unforgettable, 43 kilometre journey through a dramatic landscape which has significant historical links to the UK and World War II. To book, Visit Narvik | Winter
The shoot was held at the stunning iconic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, located 10 minutes away on public transport. It was specially chosen for its railway heritage and remarkable architecture - and because the hotel allowed our crew
to film in the magnificent Chambers Club. The hospitality we encountered was second to none.
Sir Ranulph joined us for a pre-shot breakfast in the elegant Booking Office 1869 restaurant before holding us all spellbound with his astonishing tales of polar adventures, not to mention some really exciting travel documentaries and book releases. How does he fit it all in?
We filmed Sir Ranulph as he spoke about his upcoming adventures, not only travelling on our Festive Express, but also his future trips to far flung destinations beyond the Arctic Circle – a world which he’s very used to conquering. For example, we talked about the Arctic Train in Norway; a country which hold huge memories as many a fellow adventurer calls home.
The Hotel said: ''We are proud to partner with Heathrow, and specifically the Heathrow Express. The film stars Sir Ranulph Fiennes, 'the world's living greatest explorer', which aligns fully to the Renaissance values of exploration and discovery. We believe every trip is an opportunity to discover something wonderfully new, and the Heathrow Festive Express is just that!'' To book your event or stay, visit stpancraslondon.com
Heathrow Express are proud to partner with one of the world’s most sought-after British luggage brands, Globetrotter. Like Heathrow Express they are celebrating a big anniversary; us our 25th next year, and they their 125th.
We featured one of their Original Collection in the shoot, in a rich tobacco brown colour, very fitting for any budding adventurer to set off with, and like Ranulph, add to a collection of modern heirlooms. Even more interesting is that this suitcase was among the first to reach the South Pole and the top of Mount Everest.
If you’re a young ‘flashpacker’ and travel light, there’s also a range of more affordable carry ons and covetable accessories, for more information, visit Original Luggage & Suitcase Collection | Globe-Trotter
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This is your invite to book early for the Heathrow Festive Express, launching Monday 5 December, just in time for the holiday getaway.
Helping passengers get into the Christmas mood, Heathrow Express is transforming one of its carriages into an enchanting festive experience. The excitement builds as you’ll follow in the footsteps of the ‘world’s greatest explorer’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes, as he steps out on a Yuletide expedition to the North Pole aboard the Arctic Train in search of the spirit of Christmas. Where will your dream destination be this year?
What’s more, between 5th - 7th December, those travelling in the Christmas carriage can enjoy a joyful journey, with special festive treats including a Golden Ticket giveaway with a daily chance to win a £250 Harrods shopping spree!
Follow our Christmas elves as they guide you along the platform to a special carriage where twinkling lights and the sound of sleigh bells ringing as you step onboard the Heathrow Festive Express. You’ll be handed special cards to write your letter to Santa direct to Santa’s workshop while workers make sure they get posted.
As the train sets off, you’ll sit back, enchanted by racks adorned with vintage luggage, sacks full of presents, while fresh foliage adds that magical touch.
Helping passengers get into the Christmas spirit, Heathrow Express - the fastest route between central London and Heathrow Airport – is transforming one of its carriages into an enchanting scene, just in time for the festive season.
Between 5th - 7th December, those lucky enough to be travelling in the Christmas carriage can experience a joyful journey. Christmas postal elves will guide people along the platform to the carriage, where twinkling lights and the sound of sleigh bells ringing await as they step onboard the Heathrow Festive Express.
Once seated, passengers can immerse themselves in a carriage cascading with colourful baubles, loaded with letters to Santa, packed with parcels and rammed to the rafters with festive fun. Plus, special treats including a Golden Ticket giveaway and a chance to win a shopping spree will be on offer, just in time for the holidays.
Those wishing to travel on the Heathrow Express over the holidays can book tickets in advance from as little as £5.50. It offers a stress-free experience that takes just 15 minutes to reach its destination, as well as spacious cabins, free Wi-Fi, and an Onboard Entertainment system. Plus, kids 15 years and under travel free*, making a trip to the North Pole (or any other destination) even better value for money.