Behind the scenes of the Heathrow Express Christmas Advert 2022

Press Release

World-renowned Polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes goes in search of Christmas on the Heathrow Festive Express. Want to know how to travel like Sir Ranulph, then read our guide. 

Christmas Advert 2022 - Heathrow Express - Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE

 

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. 

How was the video produced?

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.

How can I discover Norway and Narvik in Sir Ranulph’s footsteps?

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 

Where did the shoot take place?

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

What does an adventurer carry, as luggage?

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

- ENDS -

HO, HO, HO, HEXMAS IS COMING 

Press Release

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! 

 

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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. 

All aboard the Heathrow Festive Express

Press Release

Heathrow Express

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.

See full press release


Heathrow Express Fares Update

01 January 2022: Heathrow Express has consistently received the top customer satisfaction ratings for the past decade, with its NRPS scores always being in the Top 2 across all Train Operating companies and the highest for any rail air service in Britain. With a new fleet, the highest luggage space for any mode of public transport at Heathrow, comfortable seating and space for travellers to relax in a tranquil environment, Heathrow Express will be making fares even simpler by having the same price for all flexible fares across both the digital and at station physical channels. This means the flexible Return fare will continue to remain frozen at £37 since 2017 whereas the flexible Single fare will now be £25 across all channels instead of costing £25 offline and £22 online. Great value fixed single fares will still remain unchanged and start at £5.50 when purchased in advance. Children will still continue to go for free when accompanied by an adult.

Heathrow Express service confirmed to at least 2028

Tue 10 Sep 2019

Heathrow Express rail service has been preserved to at least 2028 under a new agreement announced today.

  • New agreement confirms Heathrow Express for at least a decade 
  • Will improve rail service connections, resilience and reliability for Heathrow passengers
  • Rail services to Heathrow to rise from 18 trains per hour to at least 22 trains per hour from December 2019
  • Confirms Government support for developing western and southern rail links to Heathrow

Heathrow Express (‘HEx’) rail service has been preserved to at least 2028 under a new agreement announced today. This agreement, which confirms fast, non-stop rail connections for Heathrow passengers over the next decade, has been approved by the Department for Transport and will see Heathrow Airport retaining the commercial aspects including marketing, ticket pricing and revenue, while FirstGroup’s Great Western Railway (‘GWR’) subsidiary will run the operational aspects of the Heathrow Express service under a management contract from later this year.

As a result of this agreement, a new Heathrow Express Langley depot will no longer be needed. The depot would have been required to service trains because the HS2 building schedule requires HEx to vacate the Old Oak Common depot by the end of 2019.

Heathrow Airport will continue to own the HEx service, and will be responsible for managing rail stations at the airport.  Passengers will also benefit from new ticket readers at Heathrow and Paddington, which will allow users of Heathrow Express and TfL Rail (soon to be Elizabeth line) to use pay as you go Oyster or a contactless device.

GWR will manage the introduction of a new, dedicated fleet of trains for the Heathrow Express service, which will be specially converted by December 2019 to provide first class carriages, high speed Wi-Fi, additional luggage racks and on-board entertainment. Until that time the HEx service will continue to be provided by the existing fleet of trains.

Building an integrated transport hub and ensuring at least 50% of Heathrow’s air passengers travel by public transport by 2030 is a priority for Heathrow.

This May, the initial phase of Heathrow Crossrail services will be introduced. From December 2019, and the full opening of the Elizabeth line, rail services to Heathrow will increase from 18 trains per hour today to at least 22 trains per hour. A train will depart Central London to Heathrow on average every two-and-a-half minutes, including:

  • 12 Piccadilly Line trains per hour – 6 trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 4 and 6 trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 5
  • 6 Elizabeth line trains per hour – 4 trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 4 and 2 trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 5
  • 4 Heathrow Express trains per hour – all trains serving Terminals 2, 3 and 5

Heathrow, the DfT, TfL and Network Rail are also conducting a joint feasibility study into increasing the frequency of the Elizabeth line service to 8 trains an hour by the mid-2020s.  

As part of the arrangements, the Department for Transport will progress the development of the proposed new western and southern rail links to Heathrow. These new links would make it quicker and easier for people from the across the south and west of England, and south Wales, to get to the airport.  

Rail Minister Jo Johnson said:

“We are investing in the biggest modernisation of the UK rail network since Victorian times and improving the provision and frequency of rail services to Heathrow is crucial to our plans.  

“New western and southern rail links to Heathrow would make getting to the airport quicker and easier for holidaymakers and business travellers across the south west, south Wales and south of England, as well as helping connect UK exporters to new international markets.”

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said:

“This agreement secures convenient and reliable public transport journeys to Heathrow in this decade and beyond.  We have ambitious plans to transform rail journeys into the airport, and our passengers will reap the benefits of having Heathrow at the heart of an integrated, sustainable transport network.”

FirstGroup Chief Executive Tim O'Toole said:

“Today’s agreement demonstrates the transport industry working in partnership for the benefit of passengers, allowing fast and convenient connections to continue on this crucial airport link. We are an experienced rail operator with a strong track record in delivering customer improvements, and through this management contract we look forward to building on this operational expertise, as we work with Heathrow to bring in a dedicated fleet of high-specification trains that will help keep people moving and communities prospering in the future.”

Contacts at Heathrow:

Heathrow Press Office Tel: +44 (0)20 8745 7224

Contacts at FirstGroup:

FirstGroup Corporate Communications Tel: +44 (0) 20 7725 3354

Notes to editors:

The management contract will start in August 2018 and last until 2028. Should FirstGroup cease operating the GWR franchise before 2028, then it is expected that the arrangements will be transferred to any new franchise operator.

About Heathrow

Heathrow is the UK's hub airport, home to more than 80 airlines, connecting to more than 180 destinations. Every year, Heathrow welcomes over 70 million passengers with a commitment to 'making every journey better.' Following an investment of more than £12 billion over the last 10 years, passengers have now voted Heathrow the 'Best Airport in Western Europe' four years in a row, and 'Best Airport for Shopping' nine years in a row.

About Heathrow Express Operating Company

Heathrow Express is a non-franchised, non-subsidised private rail company which runs up to 150 services a day, and operates the stations at Heathrow Airport. Launched in 1998 the non-stop service carries an average of 17,000 passengers a day. It is the fastest rail link from London to Heathrow, with a journey time of just 15 minutes to Terminals 2 and 3 (a few minutes more for Terminals 4 and 5).

About GWR

GWR, the current Rail Operator of the Year, provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, carrying more than 105 million passengers every year across the Great Western rail franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England. FirstGroup will run the franchise until April 2020, bringing our experience of managing the route over many years to ensure the successful delivery of the major programme of infrastructure upgrades on the network. The DfT has also announced that it intends to negotiate a direct award for the GWR franchise for a duration of two years to April 2022, with an option for an extension of up to two further years at the DfT’s discretion. The £7.5bn Great Western Mainline modernisation programme is the biggest investment on the route since Brunel. During this time we are introducing new or refurbished trains on every part of the network meaning additional and more frequent services, reduced journey times and more seats, particularly on key commuter routes.

About FirstGroup

FirstGroup plc (LSE: FGP.L) is a leading transport operator in the UK and North America. With £5.7 billion in revenue and more than 100,000 employees, we transported around two billion passengers last year. Each of our five divisions is a leader in its field: in North America, First Student is the largest provider of student transportation with a fleet of more than 40,000 yellow school buses, First Transit is one of the largest providers of outsourced transit management and contracting services, while Greyhound is the only nationwide operator of scheduled intercity coaches. In the UK, First Bus is one of Britain's largest bus operators, transporting 1.6 million passengers a day, and we are one of the country's most experienced rail operators, carrying around 130 million passengers last year.