Crossrail: When will the London Elizabeth Line open and route map

Queen’s surprise visit to Paddington marks the completion of work on the TfL line, linking the city center network with Reading and Essex

London’s long-delayed Crossrail project is finally set to open.

The massive expansion of the capital’s rail network – officially dubbed the Elizabeth Line – has suffered numerous setbacks and costs have skyrocketed, but Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed it will go into service on Tuesday 24 May.

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The route, which should open in 2018, will create a single contiguous network running east-west through the city center and linking it to south-east London, Berkshire and Essex.

TfL says it will increase the capacity of the capital’s public transport system by 10% and cut journey times for many travellers. By 2026, 170 million passengers per year are expected.

(Photo: TfL)

TfL commissioner Andy Byford said: “Opening day will be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK and we look forward to presenting a simply stunning addition to our network.”

Before trains started, the Queen, after whom the line is named, paid a surprise visit to Paddington Station to see the finished line.

The monarch attended a ceremony with the Earl of Wessex to mark the completion of work on the line on 17 May and unveiled a plaque to celebrate the official opening.

The project’s budget not only faces huge delays in construction, but has also increased from $14.8 billion.

ueen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque to mark the official opening of the Elizabeth Line at Paddington Station on May 17, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Matthews – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Sunday traffic on the middle section of the line will not start until later in the summer to allow for technical work and testing. Passengers traveling to London from the East and West sections will need to change trains at Paddington or Liverpool Street until next year while operators finalize the integration of various signaling systems. Bond Street station, which has suffered from significant construction problems and delays, will also not open until late 2022.

Where does the Elizabeth Line begin and end?

The Elizabeth line will initially operate in three sections between Reading, Shenfield and Abbey Wood and the city centre.

The eastern section between Shenfield and Liverpool Street and the western section between Reading, Heathrow and Paddington are already operational but will be renamed the Elizabeth Line by TfL Rail. They will connect to the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood to provide a direct route from Reading in Berkshire to Shenfield in Essex.


How long will the travel times be?

Trains will operate on the central section between Abbey Wood and Paddington every five minutes between 6.30am and 11pm and by May 2023 there will be 24 trains per hour on the route.

According to TfL, the journey time from Abbey Wood to Paddington will be almost halved – to 29 minutes – while the journey from Paddington to Canary Wharf will take 17 minutes, compared to the half hour the Tube currently takes.

Which stations does the Elizabeth Line serve?

Once fully operational, the Elizabeth line will stop at 41 stations, including 10 new ones built for the project. It will link cities in Essex and Berkshire to the capital and add Heathrow Airport to the network.

Main stations are Reading, Slough, Brentwood, Romford and the main stations Liverpool Street, Paddington, Stratford, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf.

As part of the Crossrail work, 26 miles of new tunnels and 10 new stations, including Bond Street, were built. The new stations are among the largest on the London rail network and can accommodate the £1bn fleet of new nine-car trains.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the Elizabeth line will make London “safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous”.

(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

He continued: “This is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades and will revolutionize travel in the capital and the South East.

“Green public transport is the future and the opening of the Elizabeth line is a milestone for our capital and our entire country.” Crossrail: When will the London Elizabeth Line open and route map


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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