The five-stage launch of the Elizabeth line (nee Crossrail) has been highlighted in a series of new tube maps included in a forthcoming report on preparations for the service launch.

As we doubtless know, we’re currently in Stage One, the TfL Rail branded service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield which is progressively seeing the older mainline trains replaced with new Elizabeth line trains as they roll off the production line in Derby.

Stage Two comes this May when TfL Rail takes over the existing Heathrow Connect service, ahead of becoming part of the Elizabeth line in December 2019. However, it was warned yesterday that software problems could delay the takeover until later in the year.

The big launch is this coming December, when the central tunnels open. However, due to the works that will still be ongoing, Elizabeth line services will terminate in the new low-level platforms at Paddington, and then carry on to Heathrow via the main line station.

The TfL Rail service between Shenfield and Liverpool Street will be essentially unchanged.

A few months later, in May 2019, Stage Four comes into action, linking Shenfield to Paddington directly through the central London tunnels, although some trains will still terminate at the mainline station as well.

Finally in December 2019 the full Elizabeth line tube map will be finally completed, with services running out to Reading, and Heathrow Terminal 5. Also, the broken connection at Paddington will be closed.


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  1. StevP says:

    What’s the holdup at Paddington, given that it is surface lines from there west?

    So let me get this straight. A traveller from Canary Wharf will soon be able to take Crossrail to Paddington, then switch to a Heathrow Connect? Or the HEX?

    And then a year later (a year?) instead will be able to continue straight on to Heathrow. Or maybe have to change to a different Crosstalk train. Or go upstairs to the HEX. Or maybe the HEX will change platforms? But Connect will be killed off. Correct?

    • Jon says:

      Connect will become Elizabeth Line. But from December 2018 to December 2019 it will just be differently branded it will still go from the mainline platforms.
      From December 2019 the Elizabeth Line trains will go directly from Heathrow to central London and on to Essex.

    • Gerry says:

      The current plan is that Shenfield trains will terminate at Paddington and Heathrow trains will go to Abbey Wood only.

  2. Sean O'Brien says:

    They could maybe do with showing a connection at Stratford for City Airport given that all the other airports are represented on the line. Jubilee Line trains do this on their maps for services from Canning Town.

  3. Andrew Gwilt says:

    At least more Class 345’s are being delivered to replace the Class 315’s used on TfL Rail Liverpool St-Shenfield section. Which I do like the new trains. Been on them few times. Plus Class 710’s are also coming and will be replacing the Class 315’s and Class 317’s on Lea Valley services and Romford-Upminster shuttle and Class 172’s on the brand new electrified Gospel Oak-Barking line.

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      But could the Elizabeth Line might extend to Dartford and Gravesend? That has been planned.

    • Jeremy says:

      No, some passive provision has been made, mostly in the form of ensuring that the Class 345 trains could be fitted with third-rail equipment, but there is no plan to actually undertake the extension.

      Extension eastbound from Abbey Wood is complicated by the intensive use of the existing line, rolling stock availability, and the additional potential for performance pollution caused by any shared use of lines.

      What is certain at this point is that such an extension won’t be considered until the full through service is running for long enough for traffic projections to be made with greater certainty.

      It’s possible that the line will become so busy that future extension at the eastern end is impractical, in much the same way as extending the Victoria line would simply cause capacity problems at existing stations.

      Even if it doesn’t, we are likely to be talking about a proposed extension of services serving Heathrow, and there will be those who argue strongly for limiting the operational complexity of such services in favour of reliability.

  4. Geoffrey says:

    If its right that Shenfield trains will only go to Paddington that is a nonsense Essex left out of the plans as so often.

    • Ian Visits says:

      No one in Shenfield would use the Elizabeth line to get to Heathrow as it would be a slow stopping service.

      Such people would use the existing fast mainline rail service to Liverpool Street, then change for the Elizabeth line to Heathrow.

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      That’s why they would use Greater Anglia to Stratford then change for Elizabeth Line as its quicker.

  5. Lenny says:

    Re. That’s why they would use Greater Anglia to Stratford then change for Elizabeth Line as its quicker.
    Heathrow trains will not call at Stratford.

    The biggest problem is the lack of western access to Paddington that the Thames Valley have been crying out for. It will be neccessary to take either a Elizabeth Line train and change at Hayes, or from Reading and west, take GWR fast train to Paddington and get Elziabeth or Heathrow Express service.

    • Ian Visits says:

      There is a project going through consultation right now to run a railway link from the West to the unused platforms at Terminal 5’s underground station.

  6. Lenny says:

    Sorry it was western access to Heathrow I meant!

  7. Matthew Kynaston says:

    This reminds me of the staged opening of the Jubilee line extension… you never knew how far the train would go or where it would stop when you got on at Stratford.

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