Passenger services start on London’s Elizabeth Line

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Central London's rail capacity is expected to increase by 10 per cent from today following the start of services on the Elizabeth Line.


From 0630 this morning (May 24, 2022), passengers were able to travel between Paddington and Abbey Wood on the new £19bn line built to run east-west across London.

The network is served by 41 stations, including 10 new stations in central London, and it is estimated that the Elizabeth line will carry 200 million passengers per year when fully operational. The service opened today between Paddington and Abbey Wood will run every five minutes from 06:30-23:00, Monday to Saturday. From autumn 2022 the lines from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the tunnels in central London, making journeys seamless for travellers. 

In a statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "This brand-new line is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades. It will add billions to our economy.

"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."

The Elizabeth Line was built by Crossrail Ltd and marks an important milestone of one Europe’s largest engineering projects. The main construction phase was launched in 2011 and tunnelling for the new rail tunnels began in May 2012. For this part of the project eight Herrenknecht tunnel boring machines dug below the streets of London to construct 42km of new rail tunnels, including five twin-bore tunnels. Installation of railway systems such as track, power and signalling followed completion of the tunnels in 2015.

Alstom has supplied 70 seven-and-nine car Class 345 trains for the line, which were designed and built at Alstom’s Derby factory and are maintained by Alstom at Old Oak Common depot in West London. The trains feature interconnected, walk-through carriages capable of carrying up to 1,500 passengers.

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: "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.”

Stretching over 60 miles from Reading in the west to Shenfield in the east, the Elizabeth Line was scheduled to open in December 2018. The service will be operated by MTR Elizabeth line as a concession of Transport for London.