UPDATE – launch date pushed back to Autumn 2019 – more details here.
It’s been pretty much an open secret for some time, but the date that Crossrail transforms into the Elizabeth line has been set for the 9th December 2018.
The opening date came from Westminster Council, who in their follow up to the cancellation of the Oxford Street pedestrianisation noted that “the council is also looking closely at what pedestrian safety measures may be required in advance of the opening of the Elizabeth Line stations at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, currently scheduled for 9 December 2018.”
The works on Oxford Street are because Transport for London’s passenger demand forecast indicates that from December 2018 passenger numbers using Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations will increase by 17% and 37% respectively thanks to the opening of the Elizabeth line.
The confirmation that the Elizabeth line will open on the 9th December fits in perfectly with the already known fact that the UK’s railway timetable is scheduled to change on the same day.
As the Elizabeth line interfaces with the national railway on the outside of the core tunnels, it’s not surprising that the launch date would syncronise with the National Rail timetable change.
The launch will however be phased.
We are currently in phase two, with TfL Rail operating Elizabeth line trains out of Liverpool Street to Shenfield, and partially from Paddington to Heathrow as part of the old Heathrow Connect service.
On the 9th December, TfL Rail becomes the Elizabeth line, and the central core opens to the public.
However, due to the works that will still be ongoing, Elizabeth line services will terminate in the new underground platforms at Paddington, and then carry on to Heathrow via the main line station.
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.
The proposed Elizabeth line tube map for when the service opens