Elizabeth Line - A

Elizabeth Line - A
The Elizabeth line is a high-frequency hybrid urban–suburban rail service in London and its suburbs. It runs services on dedicated infrastructure in central London from the Great Western Main Line west of Paddington station to Abbey Wood and via Whitechapel to the Great Eastern Main Line near Stratford, along the Great Western Main Line to Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west and along the Great Eastern Main Line to Shenfield in the east.
The service is named after Queen Elizabeth II, who officially opened the line on 17 May 2022 during her Platinum Jubilee year; passenger services started on 24 May 2022.
Under the project name of Crossrail, the system was approved in 2007, and construction began in 2009. Originally planned to open in 2018, the project was repeatedly delayed, including for several months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May 2015, existing commuter services on a section of one of the eastern branches, between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, were transferred to TfL Rail; this precursor service also took control of Heathrow Connect in May 2018, and some local services on the Paddington to Reading line in December 2019.
These services were augmented by a new central section in May 2022, and rebranded as the Elizabeth line. The outer services were connected to the central section in November 2022. Since May 2023, the central section has up to 24 nine-carriage Class 345 trains per hour in each direction. Elizabeth line services are operated by MTR Elizabeth line.
Elizabeth Line History
In 2001, Cross London Rail Links (CLRL), a 50/50 joint-venture between Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT), was formed to develop and promote the Crossrail scheme, and also a Wimbledon–Hackney scheme, Crossrail 2. In 2003 and 2004, over 50 days of exhibitions were held to explain the proposals at over 30 different locations.
Elizabeth Line Construction
  • Work began on 15 May 2009, when piling works started at the future Canary Wharf station.
  • Boring of the railway tunnels was officially completed in June 2015.
  • Installation of the track was completed in September 2017.
  • The European Train Control System (ETCS) signalling was scheduled to be tested in the Heathrow tunnels over the winter of 2017–2018.
  • At the end of August 2018, four months before the scheduled opening of the core section of the line, it was announced that completion was delayed and that the line would not open before autumn 2019. After multiple delays, in August 2020 Crossrail announced that the central section would be ready to open "in the first half of 2022".
  • In May 2021, trial running commenced.
  • On 17 May 2022, the line was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in honour of her Platinum Jubilee. She was not scheduled to attend the event, but decided to attend with her son, Prince Edward, to unveil the plaque commemorating the official opening.
Elizabeth Line Route
  • Reading
  • Twyford
  • Maidenhead
  • Taplow
  • Burnham
  • Slough
  • Langley
  • Iver
  • West Drayton
  • Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Heathrow Terminal 4
  • Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3
  • Southall
  • Hanwell
  • West Ealing
  • Ealing Broadway
  • Acton Main Line
  • Paddington
  • Bond Street
  • Tottenham Court Road
  • Farringdon
  • Liverpool Street
  • Whitechapel
  • Canary Wharf
  • Custom House
  • Woolwich
  • Abbey Wood
  • Stratford
  • Maryland
  • Forest Gate
  • Manor Park
  • Ilford
  • Seven Kings
  • Goodmayes
  • Chadwell Heath
  • Romford
  • Gidea Park
  • Harold Wood
  • Brentwood
  • Shenfield
The Elizabeth line runs on an east–west axis across the London region, with branches terminating at Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, and at Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5 and Reading in the west. There are 41 stations. In the central section, there are interchanges with London Underground, National Rail and Docklands Light Railway lines.
Elizabeth Line Design and infrastructure
Elizabeth Line Name and Identity
Crossrail is the name of the construction project and of the limited company, wholly owned by TfL, that was formed to carry out construction works.
The Elizabeth line is the name of the new service that is on signage throughout the stations. It is named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. The Elizabeth line roundel is coloured purple, with a superimposed blue bearing white text in the same style as for Underground lines. However, unlike Underground lines, the Elizabeth line roundel includes the word "line".
TfL Rail was an intermediate brand name which was introduced in May 2015 and discontinued in May 2022. It was used by TfL on services between Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 5 and Reading, as well as trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
Ten new stations have been built in the central and south east sections of the line, and 31 existing stations were upgraded and refurbished. Nine of the ten new-build stations opened for revenue service on 24 May 2022; the remaining station – Bond Street – required additional finishing works before commissioning could proceed.
Trains passed through its platforms non-stop until it opened five months later on 24 October. All stations are equipped with CCTV and because of the length of trains, central stations have train indicators above the platform-edge doors.
All 41 stations are step-free, with 13 of these (the central and Heathrow stations) having level access between trains and platforms.
Although the trains are 200 metres (660 feet) long, platforms at the new stations in the central core are built to enable 240-metre-long (790 ft) trains in case of possible future need.
In the eastern section, Maryland and Manor Park have not had platform extensions, so trains use selective door opening instead. At Maryland this is because of the prohibitive cost of extensions and the poor business case, and at Manor Park it is due to the presence of a freight loop that would otherwise be cut off.
Future Stations
  • Old Oak Common
Elizabeth Line Service Pattern
Elizabeth Line Previous Service
  • Upon opening, the line ran as three physically separate services: between Reading or Heathrow airport and London Paddington in the west; from Paddington via Liverpool Street to Abbey Wood in the centre; and between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield in the east.
  • To connect between services, a walk between the separate stations at Paddington or Liverpool Street was required. Operating hours were limited, as well as the service running Monday to Saturday only - allowing for further testing and software updates to take place.
  • When through-running began in November 2022, there were two main service groups, overlapping through the core section: from Reading or Heathrow Airport to Abbey Wood; and from Paddington to Shenfield.
Elizabeth Line Current Service
As of 21 May 2023, the off-peak weekday service is as follows:
Elizabeth line off-peak weekday service
  • Reading to Abbey Wood     2 tph
Calling At: Twyford, Maidenhead, Taplow, Burnham, Slough, Langley, West Drayton, Hayes & Harlington, Southall, Ealing Broadway, Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich
  • Maidenhead to Abbey Wood      2 tph
Calling At: Burnham, Slough, Langley, Iver, West Drayton, Hayes & Harlington, Southall, Ealing Broadway, Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 to Abbey Wood      4 tph
Calling At: Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3, Hayes & HarlingtonSouthall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway, Acton Main Line, Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 to Shenfield       2 tph
Calling At: Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3, Hayes & Harlington, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway, Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Stratford, Maryland, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood
  • Paddington to Shenfield        6 tph
Calling At: Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Stratford, Maryland, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood
Some early morning and late night services run into London Paddington main line terminus instead of going across central London. Likewise, some early, peak-direction, and late trains run between London Liverpool Street main line terminus and Gidea Park, bypassing Whitechapel.
Elizabeth Line Future Service
When Old Oak Common opens, all trains will serve Old Oak Common, with those not serving the Reading or Heathrow branches reversing there.
Elizabeth Line Journey Times
Elizabeth Line Minutes between Stations
Route                                                Pre-Elizabeth line time          Elizabeth line time
Paddington to Tottenham Court Road    20                                   4
Paddington to Canary Wharf                    34                                   17
Bond Street to Paddington                       15                                    3
Bond Street to Whitechapel                      24                                   10
Canary Wharf to Liverpool Street             21                                   6
Canary Wharf to Heathrow                        55                                   39
Whitechapel to Canary Wharf                   13                                    3
Abbey Wood to Heathrow                          93                                   52
Elizabeth Line Ticketing
  • Ticketing is integrated with the other London transport systems, but Oyster pay as you go is not accepted on the western section between West Drayton (the limit of London fare zone 6) and Reading, with only contactless cards valid there.
  • The concessionary travel Freedom Pass is valid for the whole length of the route, including stations outside London. The Elizabeth line is integrated with the London Underground, the wider Transport for London network and the National Rail networks; it is also included on the standard Tube map.
  • Journeys to or from Heathrow Airport are priced at a premium due to using the rail tunnel between the airport and Hayes & Harlington. That stretch of line is not part of the Network Rail system but owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings, who charge TfL an additional fee for each train that uses it. Heathrow is nevertheless included within the Travelcard scheme and daily/weekly fare capping as a fare zone 6 station.
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