Even my friend in the UK did not know that Heathrow Airport has a train running through it. The railroad tracks are used to transfer people from one terminal to another and from gate to gate. The airport transportation centre is larger than some cities in the world.
On our return trip home we had the opportunity to peel back the layers of the structure and view aspects the ordinary passenger is unaware of.
The distance from the terminal we arrived at from Cairo to terminal five where we would depart from for Toronto was too long for me to walk so we requested a wheel chair. Once settled in the business class lounge we were told that someone would pick us up when it was time to board the flight home. The lounge is huge and one can read local newspapers, eat, drink, use the computers and relax. We spent approximately four hours there.
About an hour before departure we heard our name announced and the wheel chair arrived. We had to go from the A section to the C section for our gate. Shortly after leaving the lounge, we boarded a buggy which seated five passengers and the driver. Ordinarily we would have had to walk and take the train to get to our destination.
Once seated in the vehicle we traveled a short distance and stopped. The driver expected two more passengers, in addition to the two of us and one already seated up front. The operator seemed confused and had trouble finding the last two riders. We sat. Finally the people were located. My husband, who believes in being on time, got antsy and worried we would be late for the flight. Let me go he whined. We drove another few feet and the driver asked for one of our boarding passes. He used it to purchase a bottle of duty free water at the shop. Yes, duty free water. Finally we were on our way again.
As I said, normally the train would be used to get to the designated gate but because we rode in the buggy we took a circuitous route.
We drove into service elevators where the driver had to insert keys and push buttons. We entered though one door and exited through the other. We drove down underground tunnels, deserted and dimly lit, which looked like a set design right out of a science fiction movie. The vehicle emitted a beep-beep kind of noise making it sound like a robot. More elevators, another tunnel. It felt as if we were driving to Toronto. We drove through the interior of the airport that paralleled the train. We drove within the walls.
Finally we emerged at the C gate area and the man in front exited the cart. We entered another elevator to arrive at our gate. By this time my tush was numb from the bumpy ride.
I regretted not having filmed the fascinating excursion.
My apologies for the brevity of this submission but I am still suffering from jet lag.
Blogophilia Week 47.5 topic: Peel Back The Layers
(Hard, 2pts): Include the title of a Joan Jett song
(Easy, 1pt): Incorporate railroad tracks
I knew that Heathrow had a transfer train like the one we have in Atlanta. It sure beats walking miles to the gate. As long as it works, that is.
It sounds like a wonderful trip.
Toronto doesn’t have one and it needs one
I love this story. I’ve never been to Heathrow so now if I go I’ll know what to expect
you won’t get the tour we did unless you use a wheel chair…. otherwise you just walk a lot
I would enjoy seeing the “out of the way” bits to a place like Heathrow – of course I was amazed the first time I got to use the employee tunnels of the Magic Kingdom also.
well was amusing but not when in a hurry to catch a flight…
=) Love this. =) Quite a little adventure. I am looking forward to my first ever flight, coming next month. All I get are horror stories about missed flights and delayed planes. So this was very refreshing.
good luck – where are you going? our first flight was delayed an hour. Flying is fine though quality of service differs with each airline
sounds like quite an airport excursion 🙂 I have only been to four airports in my time (Phoenix, Dallas, Kansas City and Springfield)
springfield has an airport?
Heathrow has a choo choo!? I didn’t know that! Sound like that buggy ride was not of the best of circumstances but at least you got to the gate and boarded the plane! 8 points Earthling! 🙂
yes it has a choo choo but not the same as in the pic I wonder…
WOW! you had a great stop over on your way home from Egypt Sue… I was worried that there would be little for you to do girl… the train transfer I didn’t know about mostly I suppose because when you landed at Heathrow your still in transit and no officially in England… hence the private train service to keep you in your transit mode and out of touch with the outside workings of the airport… but at least you have a good experience with the buggy ride through the seedy side of the workings of Heathrow Sue… seems you might have had a better buggy ride if they loaded my chair on for you to reside in Sue ahahahha.
I hope Bernie didn’t get too frustrated.. I know how it is when it seems things are beginning to go wrong… but at least the driver found his pick up’s and you got the flight OK….
great blog girl… very interesting… when do we get to know about Bernie’s camel ride??… lol xxx
too bad the actual flight was awful. I’ve downloaded the pics and will tell the story at some point.
ha! sounds a lot like Bush Intercontinental here in Houston. I bet you didn’t realize that we had an underground train and tunnel system in our airport when you landed here.
Hope you had a good trip. Travelling long distance can be exhausting, but so worth it once you get to your destination!
I hope you had a good time. 🙂
That is one aspect of travel that gets old quickly, doesn’t it? Hopefully the main parts of the trip overshadowed the transit portion. Hope you are getting rested back up. 🙂