Everything you need to know about the Elizabeth line

High-frequency services connecting to more places - for many the new railway will mean shorter journey times between popular destinations in the Capital. The travel experience will be more comfortable on the spacious trains and in the new and newly refurbished stations.

escalators at farringdon elizabeth line station

Opening stages

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. When the final stage is complete, customers will be able to travel seamlessly from Abbey Wood to Heathrow and Reading, and from Shenfield to Heathrow.

From 24 May 2022 (subject to final safety approvals)

  • Services currently running as TfL Rail will be rebranded to the new Elizabeth line
  • The central section opens, adding nine new stations to the TfL network (Bond Street will open to Elizabeth line customers later in 2022)
  • Service will start with 12 trains an hour (a train every 5 minutes) running between Paddington and Abbey Wood from 06:30-23:00, Monday to Saturday. (Work will continue outside those hours and on Sundays to allow for any testing and software updates needed before higher frequency services start in autumn 2022)

The line will operate in London as three separate railways, in the east, west and through central London. Elizabeth line customers travelling between:

  • Shenfield and the central section of the route will need to change trains at Liverpool Street, walking to/from the new Elizabeth line Liverpool Street station
  • Reading or Heathrow and the central section will need to change trains at Paddington, walking to/from the new Paddington Elizabeth line station
  • Paddington and Abbey Wood only - no changes needed

From autumn 2022

The lines from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels. This means customers travelling:

  • From Reading and Heathrow can travel east all the way to Abbey Wood without changing at Paddington
  • From Shenfield can travel west all the way to Paddington without changing at Liverpool Street

By May 2023

  • The separate sections of Elizabeth line are fully connected and services run to the final timetable
  • 24 trains an hour will run at the busiest times between Paddington and Whitechapel.
elizabeth line train interior

Opening hours

The Elizabeth line will have these opening hours in the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood until autumn 2022:

  • Services will run 06:30-23:00, Monday to Saturday
  • No Sunday services. A special service will operate on Sunday 5 June 2022 for the Platinum Jubilee weekend running from 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 currently, aside from any planned weekend closures

Fares and ticketing

  • While customers will initially need to touch out at Paddington and Liverpool Street to change for trains towards Reading, Heathrow or Shenfield, daily and weekly price capping will apply just as it does now
  • Contactless pay as you go will be accepted throughout the Elizabeth line, as on TfL Rail
  • Oyster pay as you go and valid Travelcards will also be accepted but, as on TfL Rail, not west of West Drayton
  • Customers using Oyster to pay as you go who want to travel to or from stations beyond West Drayton will need to use contactless instead or buy a paper ticket
  • TfL concessions will be accepted
  • Customers with a Railcard discount set on their Oyster card will continue to benefit from 1/3 off off-peak pay as you go fares, just as they do now

Main features

The Elizabeth line is one of the most complex digital railways in the world, and includes pioneering technology and design.

Elizabeth line stations

Forty-one new and improved stations will be served by the Elizabeth line.

Elizabeth line trains

The fleet of 70 specially-designed Class 345 trains were built by Bombardier Transportation (now Alstom) in Derby.

Improved accessibility

All Elizabeth line stations will be step free from street to platform when the line opens, apart from Ilford. Network Rail expects to make that station step free in summer 2022.

Nine of the 10 new stations (when fully open) plus Heathrow will have step free access from street to trains. At Custom House station, wheelchair users should board the fifth carriage of Elizabeth line trains for level access.

Station staffing

All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from the first to the last train, with a 'turn up and go' service offered to anyone needing assistance.

elizabeth line platform at woolwich station