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All aboard London’s transformational Elizabeth line

Services on the transformational railway started running from 06:30 this morning between Paddington and Abbey Wood

The transformational Elizabeth line has opened today with thousands customers due to make fast and seamless journeys through the heart of London in the first trains to depart from the new section of the railway. The new railway, which is supporting faster journeys across London, and new jobs and economic growth throughout the country, is the most significant addition to the capital’s transport network for a generation.

Thousands of excited customers will be welcomed by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, London’s Transport Commissioner, Andy Byford, Elizabeth line Director, Howard Smith, TfL Chief Operating Officer, Andy Lord, and Crossrail CEO, Mark Wild, on the first trains from Paddington and Abbey Wood.


Nine brand new stations in central London are opening providing Elizabeth line services every five minutes from 06:30 until 23:00 Monday to Saturday and the railways route now appears on the iconic Tube map.

The new railway will provide new journey options and support wider regeneration and recovery from the pandemic - creating jobs, business opportunities and a huge economic boost for the country. It will also connect London’s major employment centres and increase central London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent, the largest single increase in the capital’s transport capacity in more than 70 years.

Businesses from right around the UK have benefited from work connected to the Elizabeth line. Throughout its construction, the railway has had an extensive supply chain which has supported businesses of all sizes, and jobs and skills creation across the whole country. The Class 345 trains running on the Elizabeth line were built in Derby, roundels and signage for the line were supplied by a family-run business on the Isle of Wight, and a company based in Leeds strengthened and protected London’s Victorian sewer networks during construction.

Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, visited Paddington Elizabeth line station to mark the completion of the new railway last week. Eight buses with special commemorative wraps are currently in service across the capital as part of Transport for London’s celebrations to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Today is an historic day as the Elizabeth line opens to passengers. This is a huge moment, not just for London but the entire country - particularly in this special Jubilee year.

“This brand new line is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades. It will add billions to our economy and is set to serve up to 200 million passengers each year. I’m sure passengers will enjoy the modern trains, beautiful step-free stations and the reduced journey times across the capital and the South East.

“The Elizabeth line is much more than just a new railway - it will provide a crucial economic boost to the whole country and help to turbo-charge our recovery from the pandemic.”

Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “After years of hard work, I’m delighted that we are opening this transformational railway with an enormous contribution from TfL and industry colleagues who helped get the project open. I’m looking forward to welcoming our first customers early this morning with immense pride and excitement. This is a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK.

“The Elizabeth line will help transform life and travel in London and the South East by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity, and transforming accessibility with these spacious, uncluttered new stations and walk-through trains. I encourage everyone to visit and use our stunning new addition to the transport network.”

Emma Gibson, CEO of London TravelWatch, said: “The new Elizabeth Line is a great addition to London’s transport system and will make some journeys from east to west in the capital much quicker than taking the Tube. Every station pretty much has step free access meaning that more people can use it, and that’s critically important for disabled Londoners to be able to get around town. The walk through carriages are something that women have told us they like as it improves their sense of safety when travelling.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), commented: “The Elizabeth line really is an exceptional achievement for TfL, Government and the UK railway industry. It is a bold project that will not only transform how passengers travel across London, but it will also boost economic growth for the capital and the country as a whole.

“Railway businesses from all over the UK have played a key role in making this landmark project happen, whether train manufacturing in Derby, station construction in the East Midlands, signalling expertise from Chippenham and Stockport, or telecoms in London. Furthermore, the scheme has supported thousands of skilled railway jobs and significant investment in other parts of the economy beyond rail.

“With passengers now returning there is a strong long-term future for rail, and the Elizabeth line will make that future even brighter.”

The Elizabeth line will be crucial to London’s recovery from the pandemic, helping avoid a car-led recovery by providing new journey options, supporting regeneration across the capital, and adding an estimated £42bn to the UK economy. London is paying for most of the Elizabeth line, with nearly 70 per cent of the total funding paid by London - made up of roughly 30 per cent from London’s farepayers, around 40 per cent from London’s businesses - combined with 30 per cent from Government.

All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, previously operating as TfL Rail, have been rebranded to the Elizabeth line. Customers travelling between Reading or Heathrow into London will need to change at Paddington for services into the central section of the route, and customers from Shenfield into London will need to change at Liverpool Street. Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel. Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more these more intensive services. Bond Street’s new Elizabeth line station will also open to passengers later this year as work continues to complete the station.

Although Elizabeth line services will not run on Sundays until later this year, there will be a Sunday service across the route on Sunday 5 June to help customers celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.

Customers can now plan their journeys on the Elizabeth line using the TfL Go app and Journey Planner. The new railway connects stations such as Paddington to Canary Wharf in only 17 minutes, transforming how Londoners and visitors can navigate the capital. This journey currently takes more than 30 minutes to complete using the Tube.

All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance. Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich. It has been integrated with the TfL network, interchanges with other services including Tube, DLR, London Overground and National Rail services.

Each of the new stations in the central section has its own distinct character, conceived by different architects, which reflects the environment and heritage of the local area. However, at platform level, common design components such as seating, signage and full-height platform screen doors create a consistent and familiar feel to the rest of the TfL network. 31 of the 41 stations along the Elizabeth line route are on the surface rail network to the east and west. Upgrades to these stations included platform lengthening, improved customer information screens, signage, new ticket machines and CCTV.

Changes have also been made to 14 bus routes to improve links to Elizabeth line stations in east and south-east London, where many customers will use buses to get to and from stations. This includes the new route 304, which operates between Manor Park and Custom House stations.Selected buses connecting to the new Elizabeth line stations have been given a purple makeover to celebrate the Elizabeth line’s launch. A limited number of Santander Cycles and London Cable Car cabins have also been wrapped.