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This Saturday I will need to get from central London to Heathrow Airport with minimal luggage (a backpack and a very small, carry-on size, wheeled case). On the surface of it, Elizabeth Line is exactly what I want, going from Tottenham Court Road directly to Heathrow.

Yet I'm struggling to find a definitive answer on whether Elizabeth Line runs on the weekends or whether I need to find another route. A post from 6 November seemed to indicate that it now does, but TfL journey planner doesn't offer it as an option.

I don't have a lot of time on my side, but Heathrow Express is just too expensive in this case. Thus, it's either Elizabeth Line direct or Piccadilly via interchange with northern.

And, while on this subject, how much quicker is Elizabeth Line than Piccadilly getting to Heathrow?

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    – Mawg
    Nov 11, 2022 at 10:08

3 Answers 3

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Yes, the line runs 7 days a week. See the latest timetable. While the Tfl journey planner seems to like offering the (very expensive) Heathrow Express, I was able to convince it to offer the Elizabeth Line by selecting "fewest changes".

The Tfl journey planner showing a journey via the Elizabeth Line from Heathrow to Tottenham Court Road.

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  • Ah, perfect! It doesn't run to terminal 5 though, does it?
    – Aleks G
    Nov 9, 2022 at 14:17
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    @AleksG It does, but not all trains start there. Some start at Terminal 4, but all stop at 2 & 3. So it may be better to take the tube to 2 & 3 depending what time you arrive. This journey is free though.
    – MJeffryes
    Nov 9, 2022 at 14:32
  • Thanks. For me it's the other way: from central london to heathrow. I'll start with tottenham court road and see how it goes :)
    – Aleks G
    Nov 9, 2022 at 14:33
  • @AleksG Sorry, I misread! The reverse applies then.
    – MJeffryes
    Nov 9, 2022 at 15:10
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    I would say that taking the tube is a bad idea as the stations at Terminals 2&3 are quite far apart. Just wait on the platform and catch the next train to Terminal 5 (likely a Heathrow Express) - travel between terminals is free so you won't be charged extra for this.
    – Muzer
    Nov 10, 2022 at 12:10
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Transport for London undertakes planned engineering works on its network, often resulting in weekend closures. They currently post these at https://content.tfl.gov.uk/planned-track-closures.pdf though no doubt that link will change in future.

So currently for the Elizabeth Line they are saying closures for 12/13 November 2022:

  • Liverpool Street/Whitechapel to Shenfield

which will not affect your proposed Tottenham Court Road to Heathrow trip.

For the following weekend 19/20 November 2022 they are saying closures:

  • Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow
  • Liverpool Street/Whitechapel to Shenfield
  • (Sunday) Reduced service between Paddington and Maidenhead, Trains will not stop at Acton Main Line, Hanwell and West Ealing

which would indeed prevent that journey if you were attempting it then. The plans do not indicate further planned closures of that part of the Elizabeth line until Christmas.

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Answering the last part of the question:

How much quicker is Elizabeth line than Piccadilly getting to Heathrow?

The TfL Journey Planner shows:

  • Tottenham Court Road to LHR T5 by Elizabeth Line takes 44 minutes.

If you want to start on the Northern Line and change:

  • Leicester Square to LHR T5 by Picadilly Line takes 56 minutes.

So that will take longer even without the first leg from Tottenhan Court Road to Leicester Square, and switching to another line. It will be quicker to go direct, on the Elizabeth Line.

The reason why it takes longer, is because there is twice the number of stations on the Picadilly route than the Elizabeth route.

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    From Piccadilly Circus it's only 51 minutes, so depending on where exactly OP starts from the difference may be very small. Note also that the walking times given by the TfL Journey Planner to reach the station are sometimes a bit off. Finally, the Piccadilly line runs to T5 every 10 minutes, compared to every 30 minutes for the Elizabeth Line. And there's also the price difference :-)
    – jcaron
    Nov 9, 2022 at 17:06
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    @jcaron OP says they would start on the Northern Line from Tottenham Court Road, so you have to add the time for that leg of the journey too. Unless they walk to the nearest tube station that's actually on the Picadilly line. If price is the key issue, that could be the best option. Nov 9, 2022 at 17:09
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    By the time you've faffed around with a million escalators [Northern Line seems determined to always be at a different level & up & over every other line], it's probably quicker to walk from Tottenham Court Road to Leicester Square ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 10, 2022 at 8:47

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