Nearly £19billion in costs, nearly four years behind schedule and almost one of the longest fiascos in modern London history, but Crossrail is set to finally open before the end of June this year – a matter of weeks! It will be known as the “Elizabeth Line” from opening day and will initially operate in three separate sections, merging into two in the fall, then operate as a full line from 2023.
The line will link Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east via a new tunnel section under central London. Although it is called the ‘Elizabeth Line’, it is important to remember that the service will not be part of the London Underground, so there are some key differences.
Not all trains will stop at all stations, you cannot use your Oyster card at all stations on the Elizabeth line and the trains used on the line will not be underground trains, but current TfL Rail ones . Crossrail CEO Mark Wild is clear: “The thing to think about the Elizabeth line is that it’s not a metro line. You could call it “a line”, but it’s actually a new mode of transport.
READ MORE: “I went on Crossrail and took a trip behind the scenes – it was a whole new world compared to the London Underground”
At present, the Elizabeth line is not yet “functional” or “operational”, but you can use its trains and parts of the route west of Paddington and east of Liverpool Street. These services are currently marketed under the brand ‘TfL Train’ and will be part of the Elizabeth line on opening day, with the demise of the TfL Rail brand. Some 42-year-old TfL Rail trains will continue to make occasional appearances on the Elizabeth line for the first few months of operation until the full timetable is introduced in 2023.
Opening date of the Elizabeth line
The line will be open to the public by June 30, 2022. This has been confirmed by TfL Commissioner Andy Byford as a deadline to which he has ‘committed’. The exact opening date will be revealed once a final software update takes place over Easter and the regulator (ORR) gives TfL the remaining certification it needs to confirm that all new locations are safe for The passengers. So far, Farringdon station has already received this final approval.
Industry speculation suggests May 15 as a possible opening date, which would coincide with National Rail’s timetable change. It would also be after the local elections in May, which means that the town hall and the government could take part in an opening ceremony, which they could not do now due to the rules of “purdah”.
The weekend of June 3, 4 and 5 has also been suggested as the opening date as the Elizabeth line is named after Queen Elizabeth II who will then be celebrating her Platinum Jubilee. As soon as MyLondon are able to reveal the opening date, we’ll let you know so stay tuned!
Every Elizabeth Line station stop
From west to east the Elizabeth line will run (terminus stations in bold, *-not all trains to/from Reading stop here #-this station has short platforms so you should sit facing it ‘front of the train to get on or off):
Some trains will depart from Heathrow instead of calling at:
- Terminal 5
- Heathrow Central for Terminals 2 and 3#
Then all trains (from Reading and Heathrow) will continue to:
Then the trains will run on two separate branches, the first is to Abbey Wood and the trains will stop at:
The second is to Shenfield via Stratford and trains stop at:
- Forest Gate#
- mansion park
- Seven Kings #
- Chadwell Heath
- Gidea Park
- Harold Wood
Remember that since the line has a gradual opening, the trains will run according to the following service patterns:
Day 1 in autumn 2022: 3 distinct sections: Reading/Heathrow-Paddington, Paddington-Abbey Wood via Liverpool Street, Liverpool Street-Shenfield via Stratford
Autumn 2022 to May 2023: 2 overlapping sections: Reading/Heathrow-Abbey Wood via Paddington and Liverpool Street, Paddington-Shenfield via Liverpool Street and Stratford.
From May 2023: full line: trains to/from all destinations on the Elizabeth line running together up to every 150 seconds.
Elizabeth line map
The Elizabeth line will appear on both the classic Tube map and the full London Tube and Rail map, but here is the individual line map with connections shown so you can understand the meaning.
Elizabeth Line opening hours, fares and Oyster card rules
The Elizabeth line will operate between 5 a.m. and just after midnight Monday to Saturday and from 7 a.m. to just after midnight on Sundays and public holidays with no immediate plans for an overnight service. It won’t be 24 hours initially.
Much of the line will be covered by other 24-hour services running parallel to it, such as the night GWR service between Paddington and Reading, the weekend Central line Night Tube service between Ealing Broadway and Stratford as well as the N207, N25 and N86 bus lines. which provide a 24-hour bus service between Southall, central London, Ilford and Romford.
Fares (tickets) on the Elizabeth Line will be integrated into both TfL and National Rail schemes, so they will cost around the same as any comparable Underground or National Rail journey in London. For example, Southall to Stratford will cost £3.10 for an off-peak one-way ticket using Oyster or contactless payment. Train cards can be used on the line.
If you are traveling to/from Heathrow Airport you will pay a higher fare than if you are traveling to/from other Outer West London stations as is currently the case (although still cheaper than Heathrow Express).
Oyster cards cannot be used on the Elizabeth line between West Drayton and Reading, but contactless payment will be accepted. Oyster cards can be used on the rest of the line. If you have a rail card and are traveling to/from a station between West Drayton and Reading on the Elizabeth line, it may be cheaper to buy a paper ticket for your journey from a ticket machine or by line, as train cards cannot currently be linked to contactless.
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