Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the Elizabeth line (Crossrail) will open on 24 May 2022.
TfL has said that subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open on 24 May with trains running every five minutes between Paddington and Abbey Wood, Monday to Saturday, 06:30am–11pm.
The line will improve transport links, cut journey times, add capacity and contribute to accessible travel.
It will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.
Over the next few weeks, Elizabeth line signage will be uncovered in readiness for commercial service. The updated Tube and Rail map will also be released, depicting the new central section stations connected with the rest of the TfL network.
The Elizabeth line will operate 12 trains per hour Monday to Saturday with work continuing during engineering hours and on Sundays. This will allow a number of tests and software updates to take place before more intensive services begin in autumn.
Services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, and Paddington and Heathrow / Reading will continue to run on Sundays, except for when there are planned weekend closures.
The services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street are currently operating as TfL Rail. These will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line. Passengers travelling between Reading or Heathrow into London will have to change at Paddington for services on the central section. Passengers from Shenfield into London will have to change at Liverpool Street. Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumns. At this time, frequencies will also increase to 22 trains per hour during peak times between Paddington and Whitechapel.
Passengers are able to plan their journey on the Elizabeth line on the TfL Go app and Journey Planner before the opening.
One time-saving example of the new line: it currently takes more than 30 minutes on the Tube to travel between Paddington and Canary Wharf. This journey will only take 17 minutes using the Elizabeth line.
Passengers needing assistance will be able to use a ‘turn up and go’ service, meaning there is no need to pre-book.
“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.”
Work is currently under way at Bond Street Elizabeth line station meaning that it won’t open with the other stations on 24 May. TfL says “good progress” is being made at the station and it will open “later this year”.
Changes are being made to 14 bus routes to improve connections to Elizabeth line stations in east and south-east London. These will take effect from Saturday 14 and Saturday 21 May.
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