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Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport

T5 Heathrow Express

It had been estimated that half of all surface access journeys to Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 (T5) would be made via public transport. Firstco wanted to  ensure that all passengers arriving by rail would have an industry-leading passenger experience. It was also integral that passengers felt safe in the knowledge that security was of the highest importance in the design and implementation of the station and tunnel systems.

At 40m high, 396m long and 176m wide, T5 at Heathrow Airport is the largest free standing building in the UK. For the public, T5 marked the start of a new era for the air passenger experience and currently helps maintain Heathrow’s reputation as not just Europe’s busiest airport, but also one of its best.

Heathrow Airport

Firstco’s Role

Firstco were involved in a number of roles on the T5 project from 2000. The 1.3km-long Airside Road Tunnel was project managed by Firstco and we also delivered the communications and controls systems to ensure they could be managed from the airport’s control centre.

A four platform rail station serving extensions to the Heathrow Express and London Underground Piccadilly Line were constructed beneath the main terminal building. Firstco’s role included the design, installation management and commissioning of the communications and controls infrastructure and associated sub-systems.

This comprised 16 different technological areas, 4,300 pieces of equipment, over 70km of fibre optic cabling and 80km of copper cabling.

Project Scope

The systems Firstco designed and managed through the integrated testing and commissioning process were: security, CCTV, fire, PA/VA, ticketing, radio, PABX, data, SCADA, people counting, tunnel ventilation and train information displays.

The PLC network architecture was specified and delivered by Firstco’s design team and is one of the largest ever commissioned in Europe.

Through Firstco’s Value Assured Engineering, the Heathrow Express extension station saw a saving of some 25% on the overall cost of the project. The equipment selected was the best available and not limited to one manufacturer or one technology. A concerted effort to achieve and exceed the project requirements was guaranteed and the project was delivered on time and within budget.

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