Elizabeth is lowered into place to start tunnelling

2001 - 2012

Crossrail Ltd. was formed in 2001 and is jointly sponsored by TfL and the Department for Transport. The Crossrail Act passed in 2008 gives it permission to 'build, operate and maintain' the new railway across London.

The company breaks ground at Canary Wharf in May 2009 and tunnelling starts in May 2012.

In October 2012 tunnel boring machine Elizabeth is readied to start the longest tunnel drive, from Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon.

Ilford station ticket barriers

May 2015

TfL Rail services open between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Stations are now staffed from the first to the last train, the 'turn up and go' service is introduced for those needing assistance and fares are fully integrated into the TfL system.

Later station improvements include some new and refurbished ticket halls with accessible gates and upgraded toilets.

HM the Queen unveils the Elizabeth line roundel

February 2016

HM the Queen unveils the new roundel for the Elizabeth line, cheered on by staff who have been building the tunnels in the central portion of the line. Also present were some of our trainee drivers who will operate the trains through these tunnels.

Elizabeth line passenger train arrrives

June 2017

New trains destined for the Elizabeth line enter passenger service on TfL Rail between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Used in a few off-peak services at first, by autumn 2017 there should be 11 new trains running on the line.

Airplane being serviced

May 2018

TfL Rail service opens between Paddington and Heathrow, replacing the existing Heathrow Connect service and part of the Great Western inner suburban service. (TfL Rail continues to operate its Liverpool Street to Shenfield route.)

The Heathrow Express service runs as normal.

CGI of Abbey Road station

December 2018

The Elizabeth line opens. Three separate services will operate:

  • Paddington to Abbey Wood
  • Paddington to Heathrow
  • Liverpool Street to Shenfield
Paddington station

May 2019

Direct services operate Paddington to Shenfield and Paddington to Abbey Wood. Services from Paddington to Heathrow will continue to start and terminate in the National Rail station.

Elizabeth line roundel

December 2019

The Elizabeth line is fully open, with services running from Reading and Heathrow in the west through the central tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

See where the full Elizabeth line route will go.