Elizabeth line to open on 24 May 2022
Transport for London (TfL) has today confirmed that, subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open on Tuesday 24 May 2022. The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London and the South East by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity, and transforming accessibility with spacious new stations and walk-through trains. The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.
In the coming weeks, Elizabeth line signage will continue to be uncovered across the network in preparation for the start of customer service. The updated Tube and Rail map will also be released later showing the new central section stations connected with the rest of the TfL network for the first time.
The new line is set to be crucial to London's recovery from the pandemic, helping avoid a car-led recovery by providing new journey options, supporting regeneration across the capital, and adding an estimated £42bn to the UK economy.
The Elizabeth line will operate 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood from Monday to Saturday 06:30 to 23:00. Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.
All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line. Customers travelling between Reading or Heathrow into London will need to change at Paddington for services into the central section of the route, and customers from Shenfield into London will need to change at Liverpool Street. Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel.
Customers will be able to plan their journeys on the Elizabeth line using the TfL Go app and Journey Planner ahead of the railway opening. The new railway will connect stations such as Paddington to Canary Wharf in only 17 minutes, transforming how Londoners and visitors navigate the capital. This journey currently takes more than 30 minutes to complete using the Tube.
All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train, with a 'turn up and go' service offered to anyone needing assistance. Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich.
Andy Byford, Transport for London's Commissioner, said: "I am delighted that we can now announce a date for the opening of the Elizabeth line in May. We are using these final few weeks to continue to build up reliability on the railway and get the Elizabeth line ready to welcome customers. The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network."
Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which means that it will not open with the other stations on 24 May. The station continues to make good progress and the team at Bond Street are working hard to open the station to customers later this year.
Changes will be made to 14 bus routes to improve links to Elizabeth line stations in east and south-east London, where many customers will use buses to get to and from stations. The changes will take effect from Saturday 14 and Saturday 21 May. This includes the new route 304, which will operate between Manor Park and Custom House stations from 21 May.
Notes to editors:
- In order to provide a seamless passenger experience, contactless payments will be accepted across the Elizabeth line. While customers will need to touch out at Paddington and Liverpool Street to change to Elizabeth line services towards Reading/Heathrow and Shenfield, fare capping will be in place
- A special service will operate on Sunday 5 June for the Platinum Jubilee weekend. Services will run from approximately 08:00 - 22:00
- Services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, and Paddington to Heathrow and Reading will continue to operate on Sundays as they do today aside from any planned weekend closures
- At Abbey Wood station some customers may want to use a manual boarding ramp to board Elizabeth line services. At Custom House station, wheelchair users should board the fifth carriage of Elizabeth line trains for level access
- More information about bus changes associated with the Elizabeth line is available at: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/bus-changes
Timeline of the Elizabeth line:
- Since World War II, many proposals for an east-west railway under London were made and developed, culminating in the first full Crossrail scheme being submitted to Parliament in 1991. That scheme did not pass the committee stage but the safeguarded route was used for the central section of a revised scheme recommended by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) London East West Study in 2000.
- A joint venture between the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London (TfL) was set up in 2001 to promote the project. Outline design, consultation and business case development led to a scheme ready to submit to Parliament.
- The Crossrail Bill was submitted in February 2005. Scrutiny in Parliament reinstated Woolwich station which had been dropped during development. The Crossrail Act received Royal Assent in July 2008.
- A development agreement between TfL and the Department for Transport as joint sponsors established Crossrail Limited and the formal start of construction for Crossrail was marked at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009.
- The main construction phase was launched in 2011. Tunnelling for the new rail tunnels began in May 2012 and was completed in May 2015. Eight tunnel boring machines (TBM) created the new tunnels under London with further works on stations, platform tunnels, shafts and portals continuing after TBM tunnelling finished.
- Installation of railway systems such as track, power and signalling began once the tunnels were ready in 2015. Systems were also fitted into stations and other structures, then tested and commissioned as an overall system.
- In 2015 TfL Rail services were introduced from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, operated by MTR Elizabeth Line. MTR is accountable for the provision of train drivers, station staff and control room operators and will continue to work alongside TfL colleagues to provide the service across the Elizabeth line.
- In 2016, Her Majesty The Queen visited Bond Street station and the railway was renamed the Elizabeth line.
- In 2017 the first of the new Elizabeth line trains was introduced between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
- 2018 saw the Introduction of TfL Rail services between Paddington & Heathrow (taking over Heathrow Connect) and the introduction of the new Class 345 trains between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. Then in 2019 TfL Rail services commenced between Paddington and Reading with new Elizabeth line trains.
- Extensive commissioning of the railway commenced in spring 2021 when Trial Running began and Trial Operations commenced in November 2021.
- The Elizabeth line will open on 24 May 2022 with full services across the entire route introduced by May 2023.