The long-awaited Elizabeth Line, also known as Crossrail, is set to open on May 24 subject to final safety approvals.
The central section of the east-west rail line had originally been scheduled to open in December 2018, but this was delayed until autumn 2019, then again to between October 2020 and March 2021 and finally to 2022. It has exceeded its original budget of £14.8 billion, and is currently estimated at £18.9 billion.
From May 24, the Elizabeth line will operate 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood from Monday to Saturday 0630 to 2300. There will also be a special service on Sunday June 5 for the Platinum Jubilee weekend, running from 0800 to 2200.
Works will continue at Bond Street station, meaning that it will not be open for Elizabeth line services in May, but TfL states that it is expected to be ready by the end of the year.
The line will initially operate in three sections, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels later this year. See a more detailed timeline via TfL.
Existing services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street will be rebranded from TfL Rail to the Elizabeth Line from May 24.
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, but fare capping will be in place.
The Elizabeth line will eventually cut journey times across London, with journeys from Paddington to Canary Wharf set to take 17 minutes rather than the current 30 minutes using the Tube.
Further testing and software updates will take place during engineering hours and on Sundays ahead of “more intense services” later this year. Frequencies will increase to 22 trains per hour at peak times in central London this autumn, and full services across the entire route will be introduced by May 2023.
TfL said that signage will be uncovered across the network in the coming weeks and that an updated tube and rail map will be unveiled.
— Crossrail Project (@Crossrail) May 4, 2022
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.”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, added:
“I’m delighted that our world-class new Elizabeth line will be opening to passengers later this month, helping build a better London – one which is safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all Londoners.
“This is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades, and will revolutionise travel across the capital and the south east – as well as delivering a £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy and hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs.
“Green public transport is the future and the opening of the Elizabeth line is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year. I’m so proud of this new line and can’t wait for millions of passengers to start riding on the Elizabeth line from 24 May.”