Transport for London (TfL) opened a new heavy rail line, the Elizabeth Line, which runs east-west through central London on May 24, 2022 (Tue).
After World War II, many experts made proposals to build a railroad that connects London from east to west with a large tunnel instead of small tubes. After years of research and discussion, TfL established a subsidiary, Crossrail, in 2001 in collaboration with British Department for Transport, and in 2005, the Crossrail Bill was approved by the British Parliament. When Queen Elizabeth visited the station under construction in 2016, the line name Elizabeth Line and the symbol color purple were enacted.
The section was opened between Paddington Station, London’s main terminal, and Abbey Wood Station in the southeast London. Mostly through underground tunnels, nine new stations opened (additional Bond Street station scheduled to open in 2022). In addition, the section of 100km or more in total was unified under the name of “Elizabeth Line”, including the suburban lines to Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west, and Shenfield in the east, which has been operated as “TfL Rail”. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, “Platinum Jubilee,” and the 96-year-old Queen attended the unveiling ceremony of her commemorative plate at Paddington Station on May 18 (Wed).
At the stage of opening on May 24 (Tue), the trains will be operated separately in the three sections of “West”, “East” and the newly opened “Central Tunnel / Southeast”. The section between Paddington Station and Abbey Wood Station is temporarily open from 6:30 to 23:00, and will be closed on Sundays due to continued engineering works and adjustments. Suburban trains use Paddington Station and Liverpool Street Station on the ground as before, so if people want to use the Central Tunnel / Southeastern section, they need to move to the underground station and change trains (see the figure below for the transit map).
From the fall of 2022, the East and West route will be combined with the Central Tunnel, allowing passengers to travel from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood and from Shenfield to Paddington without any transfer. In addition, the timetable be finalized by May 2023, with 24 trains per hour scheduled to operate during peak hours in the Central Tunnel section.