Cutting it too close (for LHR SH flight)?

Old Oct 27, 19, 1:26 pm
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Cutting it too close (for LHR SH flight)?

Hi all,

I'm flying out of Heathrow to GVA on BA738 later this week, a 1910 departure. I will be in the Holborn area until 1700. I was wondering if you guys think that would be cutting it too close? I've calculated taking Picadilly from Holborn would get me to Heathrow by 1812, so plenty of time for conformance. However, I'm now worried that any delays on the line would lead me to miss the flight. Is it reliable enough that I should be ok? I've checked HEX (connecting with Central and Bakerloo) but it seems like it's only 10 mins faster for a substantial markup so am not planning on taking it, unless I'm missing something?

If necessary I can leave earlier than 1700, although that isn't ideal. But willing to consider if people here think it's smart.

Cheers,
TUF
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Old Oct 27, 19, 1:36 pm
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OK - I'll tell you why I would not. On two occasions I needed to be with my PhD Supervisor (ex) to oversee a student's project o a Friday as it happened. I need to be on flights at LHR T5 at about 19.00. On both occasions because of Piccadilly Line problems with signalling or some such. I nearly missed conformance, On one occasion it was within a minute. Thank heaven one flight was at A15 or 16 so was the nearest that I needed to be. Boarding had started. As it so happened the person sitting next to me had cracked and left the same train as me at Osterley and got a cab for a King's Ransom. HI was working with the Bundespolizei and I had to go to Berlin on one occasion and Hamburg the other.

I'm afraid that I trust public transport in the UK about as far as I could throw one of the trains. Twice bitten, thrice shy.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 1:38 pm
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Hi,

With hand bags only and a printed/mobile boarding pass it should be ok ( you have until 1835 to get to conformance). I would keep an eye out on the tfl website during the afternoon and head to Paddington for the Hex if the Picadilly line has problems.

Regards

TBS
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:09 pm
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I would do this, with a bit of reluctance, since it is tight. The big problem is that though the Piccadilly T5 spur is supposed to run at 10 minute intervals or better, this is sometimes a target which isn't met. At that time of the day it should be better than that in normal circumstances.

If you really can't afford to miss that flight then I would consider the Central to Lancaster Gate (to avoid the hassle of changing onto the Bakerloo and another service going wrong) and walking to Paddington from there, If you pre-book your ticket it may not be such a big mark-up.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:15 pm
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Holborn-T1 takes 1 hour (officially). Add a 5 minute walk either end and you arrive at 1:10 door to door, as you calculated.

What you haven't factored in is a wait of up to 10 minutes for a train and the fact that the Piccadilly Line journeys always take around 10 minute longer than they should do. So your 1700 departure will realistically get you to T5 by 1830. That gives a 5 minute buffer. Not something I would be comfortable with.

Leave earlier, or take the HEX.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
If you pre-book your ticket it may not be such a big mark-up.
The OP said "later this week" so, within that timeframe, I think that a big markup is pretty much unavoidable. This does not mean that this is not the sensible thing to do in these circumstances (but probably wise to check that there are no HEX problems before setting-off from Holborn)
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:28 pm
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I personally wouldn't if I could avoid it at all, and that is a specific trip I do often. As cws says, the T5 trains are only every 10 minutes and of course problems on the Piccadilly line can and do happen. What is more, however, is that at peak time (which this is), it does happen that Holborn station is closed off for a period of time until some of the crowd gets in trains. The problem usually stems from the Central line rather than Piccadilly but it is the whole station which is then closed.

So basically, Holborn to T5 is about 1 hour + 5 minutes from T5 arrivals to security if nobody blocks the lifts for ages.
From wherever you are to the Holborn Piccadilly platform will be another 5-15 minutes (walk+2 sets of escalators plus a bit more walk)
Potential wait time for a T5 train is up to another potential 10 minutes

Any problem on the line or Holborn station closed off for even 5 minutes because of over-crowding and you will likely miss conformance.

And I agree with you that HEX is frankly not much faster and probably even more risk due to the changes involved.

So personally, I'd stick to the Piccadilly Line but would leave at least 15 minutes early (depending on how far you are from the station)
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I would do this, with a bit of reluctance, since it is tight. The big problem is that though the Piccadilly T5 spur is supposed to run at 10 minute intervals or better, this is sometimes a target which isn't met
There’s an odd phenomenon on the Picc, which dictates that the more pressing the need to get to T5, the more likely it is that the indicator says :

1. Uxbridge
2. Heathrow T4 & 123
3. Rayners Lane
4. Northfields

I would echo that the OPs trip is doable, but will lead to some sweaty palms if there’s any perturbation in the service resulting in very overcrowded trains making longer-than-usual stops at every station on the way.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:37 pm
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I've done Holborn - LHR before having left the office late. Spent much of the journey worrying I'd miss the flight,and would've missed it if anything had gone wrong. Not worth the hassle I'd say - leave earlier if at all possible.

Your alternative is as highlighted to get off at Lancaster Gate, walk to Paddington and take the HEX. It should be quicker provided the HEX is also trouble free.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Oxon Flyer View Post
Thereís an odd phenomenon on the Picc, which dictates that the more pressing the need to get to T5, the more likely it is that the indicator says :

1. Uxbridge
2. Heathrow T4 & 123
3. Rayners Lane
4. Northfields

I would echo that the OPs trip is doable, but will lead to some sweaty palms if thereís any perturbation in the service resulting in very overcrowded trains making longer-than-usual stops at every station on the way.
Yup. And then when the T5 train does come along theyíll then decide to terminate at Northfields for another indeterminable wait.

HEX is far far more predictable.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:51 pm
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If you mean being on a train from Holborn at 17:00 I'd be okay with that - subject to all comments above it's not risk free, but unless it goes horribly wrong you should be okay .. However if you mean leaving somewhere near Holborn Station at 17.00 then walking to the station, waiting for the right train etc. there's just not much margin .. I wouldn't do it ... Go Lancaster Gate and walk to Paddington instead , shorter journey time ( TFL journey planner won't suggest this it will do something like changing to the Bakerloo at Oxford Circus which will likely take longer ) .. it's not that much quicker and it's a lot more expensive but if you've only a little margin it's better to do that in my view.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 2:55 pm
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Lifelong Londoner here, and agree with the great advice above - it's doable if absolutely everything goes in your favour, but the chances of that happening on TfL during rush hour are slim.

Personally, I wouldn't risk it.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 3:02 pm
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Thanks all for the responses. It seems the consensus is to not risk it so Iím going to try to get out a bit earlier. Worst case scenario Iíll consider the HEX for the increased reliability.

thanks again,
TUF
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Old Oct 27, 19, 3:44 pm
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The timetable for Holborn to T5 is 1700 1710 1721 1729 given the fact that on my last 2 trips on the Piccadilly line to LHR I’ve got a 100% refund due to the journey being delayed by more than 15 mins I would love earlier.
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Old Oct 27, 19, 3:44 pm
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Take the HEX. More expensive but worth every penny compared to Picc line.
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