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Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Rail link slammed over advert claims
Passengers boarding Heathrow Express
Heathrow Express: Slammed for journey times of longer than 15 minutes
The firm which boasted its rail services were "famous" for taking 15 minutes to complete their route has been censured over journey delays.

Advertising watchdogs have ordered bosses at the Heathrow Express to ditch advertisements claiming that the services between central London and the airport completed the route in 15 minutes.


The probe followed a complaint that trains promoted as 'the only short cut' had taken up to 25 minutes to run the route

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ban followed findings that one third of trains used by a disgruntled passenger were delayed.

"The authority considered that the advertisers had not proved that most of their services completed the journey in 15 minutes," the ASA said.

The ASA also banned adverts claiming that Heathrow Express trains ran every quarter of an hour, when services did not run throughout the night.

"[The authority] concluded that the claim was misleading," the report said.

Engineers blamed

The ASA probe followed a complaint from a passenger that trains he had seen promoted as "effective time management" and "the only short cut" had taken up to 25 minutes to run the route from the airport to Paddington station.

Heathrow Express chiefs, while admitting poor performance in July and August last year, blamed the deterioration on engineering works carried out by track management firm Railtrack.

"The advertisers claimed that only four of the delays were within their control," Wednesday's ASA report said.

British Airports Authority, which owns Heathrow Express, said that services had since recovered to claim second place in a national punctuality league.

Heathrow Express adverts containing the "Paddington-Heathrow in 15 minutes" claim had been removed during the period of service disruption.

But the ASA said that passengers would understand the adverts "to mean that the service completed the journey in 15 minutes", a claim the Heathrow Express's record could not support.

Rogue posters

A Heathrow Express spokesman told BBC News Online that the rail firm would "look at" the ASA's findings.

"We are always changing our advertising," the spokeswoman said.

"We will look to come up with something even more interesting."

She blamed rogue posters for promoting the 15-minute claim during last summer's poor service period, when adverts were meant to have been removed.

"You are never going to get to every poster," she said.

See also:

06 Mar 02 | Scotland
20 Feb 02 | England
09 Jan 02 | Business
30 May 01 | Business
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