Yesterday, TfL got a little bit larger, when it took over the staffing of a number of train stations in Berkshire from Great Western Railway.

It’s all part of the run up to the launch of the Elizabeth Line launching in exactly one year’s time.

TfL took over the staffing of 11 stations between Acton Main Line and Taplow (excluding Slough) on Sunday 10 December, although Network Rail is still showing them as GWR managed stations. They are now managed by MTR Crossrail, the company that runs the TfL Rail services out of Liverpool Street station.

From today, the stations between Acton Main Line and Hayes & Harlington will also be staffed all day. Current staffing arrangements will remain at stations from West Drayton through to Taplow until the Elizabeth line serves those stations in December 2019.

At the same time, TfL awarded a contract to deliver step-free access and station improvements at Hanwell, Iver, Langley and Taplow to J. Murphy & Sons Limited.

Iver will also get a new ticket hall with modern information screens, replacing the current structure that dates back to the 1920s.

From May 2018, TfL Rail will take over over from the existing Heathrow Connect and part of the Great Western inner suburban service running into Paddington.

As has already been commented on, the takeover announcement from TfL included some extra details about the launch of the Elizabeth line, which will start next December as three distinct services.

Elizabeth line 1: Paddington (main line) to Heathrow

Elizabeth line 2: Paddington (underground) to Abbey Wood

Elizabeth line 3: Liverpool Street (main line) to Shenfield

A person arriving at Heathrow for next Christmas and wanting to go to Shenfield would be able to catch an Elizabeth line train from Heathrow to Paddington, probably arriving at platform 4, then they’ll cross the station to the new Elizabeth line platforms just outside the mainline station to switch to the underground to complete their trip. Then they’ll arrive at Liverpool Street, and back up to the surface, to catch another train from the mainline station.

This rather convoluted affair wont last long though, with the full Elizabeth line service due to come into service a year later, in December 2019, which is also when the Heathrow section will be extended to include Terminal 5.

While the Elizabeth line is mainly taking over existing mainline services, and adding a few extra trains per hour, the main benefit of the new line will be mostly felt in the centre of London where it adds a huge amount of capacity to the overcrowded London Underground network.

As such, the peculiar arrangement next December wont be a downgrade, just a bit weird for the probably relatively few people who wont be surprised to need to change trains at Paddington, but will be surprised by the fact that two apparently separate services share the same name.


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  1. Irene Carlo says:

    Does this mean that all the ‘new’ Tfl stations will be part of the Oyster route?

    • Tyson Key says:

      I hope so, given that press releases have had a note buried in them, regarding “Introducing pay as you go to cover the Elizabeth Line”, as a future enhancement, for sometime in 2018/2019 – but I do wonder about the Slough-shaped hole in their plan, given that they’re not taking over immediately (if ever?), until 2019, but they’re taking Langley (within kissing distance of Slough), and Taplow (not far from Maidenhead), already – but I wonder if it’s down to GWR being awkward, or the individual Berkshire councils not being as yielding, as Bucks CC.

      Would be nice to not have to get the 81 bus to Hounslow, and then walk to the SWR station, just to avoid paying the ridiculous price (~£21, peak!) for a flimsy Zone 1-6 paper TravelCard, that inevitably gets demagnetised by my phone case, in order to make certain connections, though…

    • Mr & Mrs Mcdonald says:

      Why a over 6o year old gets there oyster card but lose the diability travel for outside of London free bus services

  2. SteveP says:

    I was surprised that the journey from Reading to Heathrow on the Elizabeth Line would require a reverse ferret at Paddington or a luggage shuffle at West Drayton or some intermediate station. And given that Crossrail from Reading will be much slower than mainline services, changing at Paddington will be quicker and possibly smoother.

    However, there are plans to add rail connections to T5 on a loop from Slough. So it will be possible to travel from Reading or further west relatively directly to Heathrow by rail. It does make you wonder if the services will actually join up, though

  3. Tyson Key says:

    Assuming that Reading eventually gets Oyster, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens, if someone tries to jump on the Reading-Waterloo, or Reading-Redhill services, in terms of not only fares, but alighting at intermediate stations like Virginia Water, Reigate, Dorking Deepdene, or Egham, given that there’s going to be a gaping hole, where Oyster probably won’t get accepted by Southern, or SWR, until escaping the twilight zone, and reaching a station where it is.

    I foresee any of:
    * Lots of penalty fares being dished out, to folks being caught unaware
    * TfL eventually doing some hand-twisting, to encourage TOCs to surrender to adding those stations to Oyster (probably after an Orpington/Dartford-style case of the former, after enough complaints about penalty fares)
    * Folks just compliantly buying paper tickets, as usual, while enduring gradual price rises, due to a perceived psychological barrier of “It’s not London, so Oyster doesn’t work”
    * TfL “nudge” people into using a “correct” route (i.e. only using BorisRail + Tube, via Paddington, to reach Reading, and using a long-winded route via East Croydon/Wimbledon/Ealing, to reach Redhill?) – but that ignores the ones wanting to reach those intermediate stations in Surrey/Berkshire…

    Any thoughts?

  4. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Next year. Bombardier Aventra Class 710’s that will be operated on the London Overground will be replacing the Class 315’s and Class 317’s used on the Lea Valley metro services (Liverpool St-Chingford, Enfield Town and Cheshunt lines) and Romford-Upminster line and Class 172’s on the Gospel Oak-Barking line as prior to the electrification on the GOBLIN line. Aswell transferring the Class 378’s used on the Euston-Watford Junction DC line to be moved to North London Line and East London Line services. With the LO Class 172’s to be cascaded to West Midlands Railway (Coventry-Nuneaton line) from late next year.

  5. Traveling Bear says:

    Will and when London FREEdom passes allow FOR FREE travel along all of the Elizabeth line?

    • Ian Visits says:

      You’ll need to ask the organisation that issues the pass when they plan to change their product.

  6. Nicholas Bennett says:

    The Freedom Pass, paid for by the London Boroughs, extends to Shenfield (although it didn’t operate the gates, thecstaff let you through). It also takes you as far as Dartford, Estree and Borehamwood, Amersham, Coulsdon. None of which are in the GLA. Presumably it will eventually extend to Reading as a TfL Station.

  7. Geoffrey says:

    There is no reason why the Pensioners Freedom Pass should be extended anywhere outside Great London Authority Area as it is G L A who pay for it from Council Tax and Pensioners in Essex and other counties throughout England only get a Bus Pass NOT Trains Tubes

  8. Dorina says:

    So glad TFL is taking over heathrow connect. Hopefully the line, services will become more reliable and communicative. As at the moment for years staff, signalling team have lost the meaning of team work and delivering the informations to the passengers when we need it most. Fingers crossed for a better and effective service from Hanwell

  9. Chandra says:

    Would GWR trains stop at Slough/Langley from Dec 2019 when Crossrail starts to operate ?

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