It has finally arrived. Not an Elizabeth line train exactly – but a date for when the service begins operations. Mark it in your calendar – Tuesday 24 May 2022.
Transport for London (TfL) has today confirmed that, subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for the monarch after which it is named.
Andy Byford, Transport for London’s Commissioner, said: “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.”
The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.
In the coming weeks, Elizabeth line signage will continue to be uncovered across the network in preparation for the start of customer service. The updated Tube and Rail map will also be released later showing the new central section stations connected with the rest of the TfL network for the first time.
The Elizabeth line will operate 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood from Monday to Saturday 06.30 to 23.00. Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn. Contactless payments will be accepted across the line.
All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be 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.
Customers will be able to plan their journeys on the Elizabeth line using the TfL Go app and Journey Planner ahead of the railway opening. The new railway will connect stations such as Paddington to Canary Wharf in only 17 minutes, transforming how Londoners and visitors 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.
Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which means that it will not open with the other stations on 24 May. The station continues to make good progress and the team at Bond Street are working hard to open the station to customers later this year.