Elizabeth Line - B

Elizabeth Line - B
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 2005 Route Development
In 2005, ahead of Crossrail's hybrid bill submission, a number of feeder routes were considered by CLRL west of Paddington and east of Liverpool Street. It was viewed, given the 24 trains-per-hour (tph) core frequency, that two feeder routes, each of 12 tph, could be taken forward.
In the west, a route to Maidenhead (later extended to Reading) and Heathrow Airport was selected. In the east, routes to Abbey Wood (curtailed from Ebbsfleet to avoid conflicts with the North Kent lines) and Shenfield were selected.
Elizabeth Line Approval
The Crossrail Act 2008 authorising the construction project received royal assent on 22 July 2008. In December 2008, TfL and the DfT announced that they had signed the "Crossrail Sponsors' Agreement". This committed them to financing the project, then projected to cost £15.9 billion, with further contributions from Network Rail, BAA, and the City of London.
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 ​Timeline

  • Though the main tunnels under central London had not yet been opened, passenger operations on the outer branches of the future Elizabeth line were transferred to TfL for inclusion in the concession – this took place over several stages beginning May 2015.
  • During this initial phase of operation, services were operated by MTR under the TfL Rail brand. Following the practice adopted during the transfer of former Silverlink services to London Overground in 2007.
  • TfL carried out a deep clean of stations and trains on the future Elizabeth line route, installed new ticket machines and barriers, introduced Oyster card and contactless payment, and ensured all stations were staffed. Existing rolling stock was rebranded with the TfL Rail identity.
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 Rolling Stock
Services on the Elizabeth line are operated exclusively by a fleet of nine-car Class 345 trains that was procured especially for this purpose. The service specifications called for approximately 60 trains, each 200 metres (660 feet) long and capable of carrying up to 1,500 passengers, of which 57 would be in service at any one time.
In March 2011, Crossrail indicated that five bidders had been shortlisted as potential suppliers of both the new fleet and its depot facilities; Alstom, CAF, Siemens Mobility, Hitachi Rail, and Bombardier Transportation – although Alstom withdrew four months later. Crossrail issued invitations to negotiate to the remaining bidders in March 2012, with submission of tenders expected between June and August.
It was stipulated that bidders should offer a fleet based on technology that was "already developed", with the expectation that an "evolutionary, not revolutionary" product would help to ensure "value for money" and " the utmost reliability from day one".
Siemens withdrew their rolling stock bid in July 2013, citing an increase in other business and a need to protect their "ability to deliver... current customer commitments", which included the £1.6 billion Class 700 order for Thameslink. Their contract to supply Crossrail's signalling and control systems was unaffected.
In December 2013, the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide TfL loans of up to £500 million to fund the rolling stock procurement, following TfL's decision in March of that year to abandon plans to cover most of the cost with private financing.
TfL and the Department for Transport announced in early February 2014 that Bombardier's bid had been successful. The 32-year contract for the supply and maintenance of the trains and depot was valued at £1 billion. It included a firm order for 65 units from Bombardier's new Aventra family, plus an option for a further 18.
The trains have air-conditioning and are designed to be as accessible as possible, including wide aisles and gangways, dedicated areas for wheelchairs, audio and visual announcements, CCTV, and passenger intercoms connected to the driver for use in the event of emergency. They will run at up to 90 mph (140 km/h) on certain parts of the route.
Due to limited platform lengths at both Liverpool Street and Paddington National Rail stations, most Class 345 units were initially delivered as seven-car formations, then later extended to the intended nine.
The first unit entered service on 22 June 2017, between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. TfL exercised an option to acquire a further five units in July 2017, bringing the total number on order to 70.
A number of Class 315 units that had been operating with TfL Rail remained in use on Elizabeth line services between Liverpool Street's terminal platforms and Shenfield alongside Class 345 units while the introduction of the new fleet – including the extension to nine-car formations – was completed.
The Class 315 units, which had been built for British Rail in 1980–1981, could not be used in the line's core section. The final four were withdrawn from service on 9 December 2022.
Elizabeth Line Electrification and Train Protection
The Elizabeth line uses 25 kV, 50 Hz AC overhead lines, already in use on the Great Eastern and Great Western Main Lines.
The Heathrow branch started using the European Train Control System (ETCS) in 2020. The Automatic Warning System (AWS) and Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS) are used on the Great Western and Great Eastern Main Lines, with possible later upgrades to ETCS. Communications-based train control (CBTC) is installed in the central section and the Abbey Wood branch.
Elizabeth Line Depots
The Elizabeth line has depots in west London at Old Oak Common TMD, in south-east London at Plumstead Depot, and in east London at Ilford EMU Depot.
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 Passenger Numbers
  • Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elizabeth line was predicted to carry over 200 million passengers annually immediately after opening, this was expected to relieve pressure on London Underground's lines, especially the Central line.
  • Farringdon is expected to become one of the busiest stations in the UK, due to it being the key interchange station with Thameslink services. In a business plan for the line published in January 2020, Transport for London predicted total annual revenues from the line of nearly £500 million per year in 2022/23 (its first full year of operation) and over £1 billion per year in 2024/25.
  • By the time the line opened, TfL had reduced their passenger forecasts because passenger travelling habits changed during the pandemic; the estimate was between 130 and 170 million passengers by 2026. However, the Elizabeth line carried 62.2 million passengers in the last quarter of 2022 alone.
  • That was one-sixth of the UK's total rail journeys, and double the number the line carried during the same period one year earlier. TFL later stated the line had carried over 150 million passenges in its first year of operation.
Elizabeth Line Further Proposals
New stations have been proposed to serve London City Airport, and extensions have been put forward to Ebbsfleet in the south east, Milton Keynes in the north west, Staines in the south west, and Southend Airport in the east.
Elizabeth Line Overview
Elizabeth Line Service Type: Hybrid urban-suburban rail
Elizabeth Line System: National Rail
Elizabeth Line Locale:
Greater London
Elizabeth Line First Service: 24 May 2022; 13 months ago
Elizabeth Line Current Operator(s): MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd
Elizabeth Line Termini West: Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5 and Reading
Elizabeth Line Termini East: Abbey Wood and Shenfield
Elizabeth Line Stops: 41
Elizabeth Line Rolling Stock: Class 345
Elizabeth Line Track Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge
Elizabeth Line Electrification: 25 kV 50 Hz AC (overhead lines)
Elizabeth Line Operating Speed:
Crossrail: 60 mph (95 km/h)
GWML, Heathrow and GEML: 90 mph (145 km/h)
Elizabeth Line Track Owner(s):
Transport for London (Old Oak Common to Abbey Wood and Stratford)
Network Rail (Pudding Mill Lane to Shenfield and Old Oak Common to Reading)
Heathrow Airport Holdings (Heathrow branch)
Elizabeth line Route Legend
                                    River Thames
Heathrow T5             Langley
Heathrow T4             Iver
                                    M25 motorway
Heathrow T2&3        Greater London boundary
                                    West Drayton
Heathrow Rail Link              Great Western Main Line
                                    Hayes & Harlington
                                    River Brent
                                    West Ealing
                                    Ealing Broadway
                                    Acton Main Line
Old Oak Common   Old Oak Common Depot
(under construction)
Crossrail                    Great Western Main Line
Royal Oak portal
Paddington               London Paddington
Bond Street
Tottenham Ct Rd
Farringdon                Barbican
Liverpool St
Crossrail                    Great Eastern Main Line
                                   Pudding Mill Lane
Canary Wharf           Stratford
Victoria Dock portal              Maryland
DocklandsCustom House    Forest Gate
Connaught tunnel                 Manor Park
under Royal Docks
River Thames
Woolwich                                Seven Kings
Abbey Wood                           Goodmayes
Safeguarded route
to Gravesend                          Chadwell Heath
                                                  Romford Control Centre and depot
Gidea Park
Harold Wood
Greater London boundary
M25 motorway
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