The Crossrail project is completed – and the Elizabeth line will open to the public in a couple of weeks time on Tuesday 24th May 2022…

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Yes, Tuesday 24th May 2022 will go down in transport history as the day that the Elizabeth line opens to the paying public, slashing journey times across London and adding a massive 10 per cent to central London’s tube train capacity. The opening will be the first stage of opening up the core tunnels, with trains running every 5 minutes between Abbey Wood and Paddington station.

The existing TfL Rail services that run between Paddington and Heathrow/Reading, and between Liverpool Street and Shenfield will continue as they already do but will be rebranded as Elizabeth line trains from Tuesday 24th May.

So in effect, there will be three separate Elizabeth line services.

Elizabeth line map (c) TfL

As people will have been noticing, lots of Elizabeth line signs have been appearing over the past few weeks around London as TfL ramps up the work to the opening date, getting everything ready for the grand opening day.

Andy Byford, Transport for London’s Commissioner, said: “I am delighted that we can now announce a date for the opening of the Elizabeth line in May. We are using these final few weeks to continue to build up reliability on the railway and get the Elizabeth line ready to welcome customers. The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network.”

So from the morning of 24th May 2022, people will finally, after delays and cost overruns be able to use Elizabeth line trains between Abbey Wood and Paddington, calling at the new stations and platforms that have been built at Woolwich, Custom House, Canary Wharf, Whitechapel, Liverpool Street, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Paddington.

Bond Street station won’t be opening with the rest of the line, as it still needs about three months more work, so is expected to open in the autumn.

Also, the line still has work to be carried out, so services between Paddington to Abbey Wood will close early in the evenings, running from 06:30am to 11pm, and the line will be closed on Sundays. Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn. Although closed on Sundays, there will be a special service on Sunday 5th June for the Platinum Jubilee weekend, with trains running from 8am to 10pm on that Sunday.

The existing TfL Rail branded bit of the Elizabeth line will remain open on Sundays as they already do.

Later this year, also expected to be the autumn, the three services will come together and enables services from Reading and Heathrow through to Abbey Wood and from Shenfield through to Paddington. That will see trains every 2.5 minutes running through the central section of the line.

The final phase for the Elizabeth line is due by May 2023, but possibly sooner and will link up the final parts, allowing trains from Shenfield to run all the way to Reading and Heathrow.

But, on the morning of Tuesday 24th May, expect thousands of smiling transport fans, commuters trying out a new route to work and curious Londoners to be exploring the new purple line running through central London.

It’s been a long route to completion…


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  1. ChrisC says:

    Excellent news!

  2. Chas says:

    And what a fitting and permanent recognition of our monarch in her Diamond Jubilee year.

    • Rick says:

      Completely pointless renaming from Crossrail which at least was descriptive of what it is. There are already plenty of things named ‘Elizabeth’ and the Royals never travel by tube so what was the point?

    • Steve Watts says:

      Chas. I know The Elizabeth Line has been delayed but not by a decade.
      I don’t know whether you were being ironic, apologies if you were but it’s actually H.M The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
      (I’m such a pedant.)

  3. Rob A, North London says:

    Floor-mounted signage has its place, but perhaps not in the example shown. The details might be visible to more people at once and be grasped quicker with less stress if this signage were ceiling-mounted. E.g. left destinations could have been shown on the left. Towards the centre could be the statement about lifts plus any destinations for which a direction is variable and so is shown by an illuminated arrow. That might have eased passenger movement (newcomers pausing for a shorter time).
    Quite separately, Euston is in competition with the M25, M1 and M6. Wouldn’t it have been great if Euston rather than Tottenham Court Road were on the route? i.e. if Euston were as well served as Paddington. Modal shift requires that design of future routes prioritise convenience – attracting new users of public transport.

    • ianVisits says:

      A huge amount of thinking has gone into the wayfinding in the stations, even down to the colour warmth of the lighting in different parts of the station, so after all that research, why do you think they’ve switched from the ceiling-mounted signs in tube stations to the design that’s been used in the Elizabeth line?

    • ChrisC says:

      It might have been ‘great’ to have Euston on the route but at what cost and what other changes to the route would have been required to enable that?

      Look at a geographically accurate tube map and you’ll see why it wasn’t done.

  4. Rob A North London says:

    The universal application of one approach (i.e. floor-mounted) for passageway signage may appear attractive. But I suspect that in the specific location in the photo it will be counterproductive.

    I suggest much design is better if one starts from the perspective of a user with mobility or other issues. (It seems that for the NLE that did not happen, hence the shortcomings). From a wheelchair, one might not even see the notice about lifts – it will often be obscured by people standing while they work out which direction to go. And why does the notice use such a small font?

    • ianVisits says:

      You’re making lots of assumptions for someone who presumably hasn’t been into the stations yet – I have, and I know there’s a lot more than just the handful of photos I’ve used.

      I really think you should hold off your criticisms until you’ve physically been there and seen what’s been built before deciding that all the research and studies done into wayfaring for the stations by people who understand the issues were wrong.

  5. Rob A. North London says:

    To serve Euston, no other change to the route would have been required. (Farringdon – Euston was on the Brunel Line in Sir Peter Hall’s 1989 book, London 2001. And Euston – Bond Street would have provided an excellent link to the West End, relieving Oxford Circus.)
    Yes it would have been a slightly longer route, but the extra cost would primarily have been that eventually a tube shuttle would have been needed from Euston to High Holborn (Chancery Lane with Holborn). In the end, we will need that anyway to relieve the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines (and it should continue to Waterloo, Vauxhall and Clapham Common resolving so much congestion and enabling CR2’s route to be vastly improved).
    The ‘cost’ we now have is loss of revenue and a huge waste of the Elizabeth’s line’s potential west of central London where it must carry HS2 passengers to central London instead of economically using the huge potential it would have had e.g. Tring – Abbey Wood/Shenfield. Euston’s rebuild would be more straightforward if Crossrail through Euston were in place, reducing the need for suburban platforms. (I am a designer but spent a few years in finance along the way.)

    • Andy T says:

      For that to be viable you would need to cut Tottenham Court Road which would defeat part of the lines purpose, hopefully once open, getting from Bank to Liverpool Street at peak times will not require the use of a tin opener to get in the train

    • ChrisC says:

      Please put your crayons back in the box

      The time for this to be discussed was 20 – 30 years ago not now once the darn thing has been built an on the cusp of opening.

  6. Dominuc says:

    The Crossrail project ‘completed’?

    Clearly your opening para is a tad overblown ….. with only part of the line opening and a limited service offered ….

    Completion will be when all parts of the line, all stations, and all through services, are open and running without any of the initial limitations.

    One might also expect a longish snagging period …..

    “The Crossrail project is completed – and the Elizabeth line will open to the public in a couple of weeks time on Tuesday 24th May 2022…”

    Crossrail it was and is, and will probably remain for most people!

    • Andy T says:

      Slightly pedantic but I see your point. Regards the naming, its Rail and its made a lot of people cross so Crossrail it is 😀

  7. Ms Terry Jones says:

    Not finished in Ealing, anyway, where most access down newly built steps remain fenced off. No shops fitted out either.
    I agree with Rick that naming it Liz Line is inappropriate since Royals don’t use the tube. And there’s already a jubilee line, though a colleague once told me he calls it the Jellied Eel, so now I do too.

  8. Ramon Prasad says:

    As nobody else has mentioned this I will. Abbey Wood is the FIRST RAILWAY STATION, even of any kind, that THAMESMEAD has obtained from London Transport Underground, Overground, or even of any kind.

    This receives three hundred thousand cheers from me. Since 1950’s nobody has coughed up the money for Thamesmead to have a railway station. Gloriana! Now they have one and it is FIRST CLASS.

    Manna from heaven so far as Thamesmead is concerned. How about if Crossrail mentioned in their publicity that Thamesmead has a new railway station and it is on the Elizabeth line ?

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