TFL Rail (formerly Heathrow Connect) airport train to London

Cheaper stopping train to London Paddington to the alternative Heathrow Express

Heathrow TFL Train at Heathrow Airport

TFL Rail ran until May 2022, when it was rebranded as the Elizabeth Line.

TFL Rail is a cheaper alternative to the Heathrow Express running the same route between Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station.

Until May 2018, the TFL Train was called Heathrow Connect and was part of the national railways. With TFL Rail taking over the service it is now regulated by the same people who run London's Underground and buses. As a result fares and ticketing options are very well integrated and you can use the same travel pass with TFL Rail as for the London Underground and buses.

The reason TFL Rail Heathrow is cheaper is that it is aimed at workers at Heathrow Airport, a stopping train that takes 15 minutes longer than the Heathrow Express (30 minutes as against 15 minutes to Heathrow Central).

The TFL train is also less frequent than the Heathrow Express, every 30 minutes instead of every 15 minutes with Heathrow Express.

The TFL Rail Heathrow train visits Terminals 2 and 3 as well as Terminal 5.

Both Heathrow Express and TFL Rail trains share the same platforms at Heathrow Central.

The London Underground trains at Heathrow do not stop at the same platforms as the Heathrow Express and TFL trains. The London Underground at Heathrow is a separate system with its own stations.

TFL Rail Heathrow operating hours & frequencies

TFL Heathrow trains run every 30 minutes in each direction 7 days a week.

From Heathrow Airport first train from Heathrow (Terminal 2) is at 05:17. Last train is shortly before midnight.

From Paddington first train is 04:42, (Sundays 05:11). The last train is at 23:02, (Sundays 23:11).

Average journey time between Heathrow Terminals 4 and Paddington is 35 minutes.

2 TFL Rail Heathrow Stations, 4 Heathrow Passenger Terminals

Heathrow currently has four terminals numbered 2, 3, 4 and 5. The TFL Rail Heathrow trains terminate at Terminal 4 and also stop at Heathrow Central (for Terminals 2 and 3).

Terminal 5 has its own station a 5-minute ride further along the line from Heathrow Central beneath the passenger terminal and you use the Heathrow Express train that terminates there, this short journey is free.

Services only call at Heathrow Terminal 5 in the evenings and at weekends. 

At Heathrow Central the TFL Heathrow and Heathrow Express trains either leaves from the same platform or you walk about 20 yards to the adjacent platform.

There are lifts from within Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 down to the platforms. For Terminals 2 and 3 you walk (along moving walkways) for about 5 minutes before taking lifts down to the platform.

Ask Bob Heathrow transfers

London Station - Paddington

Paddington Station
Paddington Station

The TFL Rail Heathrow stops at five stations between Heathrow and Paddington. We have a dedicated page on Paddington Station.

For visitors, the station that is worth mentioning is Ealing Broadway. Ealing Broadway is a London Underground interchange connecting to the Central and District Lines.

Ealing Broadway

If your hotel is in the west of London, perhaps Bayswater or Shepherd's Bush, you might want to change trains at Ealing Broadway, rather than going onto Paddington the terminus, avoiding doubling back on yourself.

At Ealing Broadway you can interchange with the District and Central Lines of the London Underground.

Paddington is the terminus of the Heathrow Express and TFL Rail Heathrow trains. These are the most stress free, fastest and most comfortable transfer options available.

Indeed if you stay at a hotel around Paddington Station, of which there are many, you can be at check-in before getting to some of Heathrow's own airport hotels.

The Heathrow Express train is a premium dedicated airport train. If you are watching your budget, the TFL Heathrow train is a less frequent stopping train but at nearly half the price.

TFL Heathrow Station Map

TFL Trains Heathrow ticketing and Oyster fares

TFL Rail Heathrow uses the same integrated ticketing system as used by the London Underground, London's red buses and most other public transport in London. The fares are called Oyster fares.

For the vast majority of visitors to London, Oyster will be the way you pay for your transport in London.

At first glance the Oyster system may seem very complicated, especially if you are a visitor with kids.

Investing a few minutes of your time understanding the Oyster system will make your travel around London less stressful and probably cheaper too.

Oyster fares - full information

Transport for London


London Travelcard & Oyster Card

Visiting London? Save time and money on London public transport

• Visitor Oyster Card • Travelcard for 1 day anytime / off-peak or 7 days anytime • Group day travelcards available

London - Heathrow comparison of public transport from 3 March 2024 - March 2025


Standard Adult Fare*

One way


London Underground (Cash)



London Underground (Oyster Card)



National Express Bus to Victoria



Elizabeth Line Train



Heathrow Express Train (Anytime - web single ticket)



Heathrow Express Train (30 Day Advance)



Heathrow Express Train (60 Day Advance)



Heathrow Express Train (90 Day Advance)



Hotel Shared Shuttle Central London



* Standard adult ticket. Other promotional fares may appear from time to time.

Heathrow Express train - Children under 15 free, online only one-way fare. Cheapest fare for both weekday and weekend travel.

Cheapest Heathrow Express fares are only available 90 days or over in advance and only using the mobile app. A select amount of cheaper tickets are released per day (300) which will help you find cheaper rates when booking in advance, but if these are already sold, then a standard fare will be shown.

Where Heathrow public transport goes in central London

Heathrow - London Terminal Map covering piccadily line to heathrow
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