Elizabeth Line – when it opens, route, hours of operation and fare

After countless delays and cost overruns, the much-maligned Elizabeth Line – formerly known as Crossrail – will finally take on its first fare-paying passengers this week

Elizabeth Line will carry its first passengers on May 24th
Elizabeth Line will carry its first passengers on May 24th

The Elizabeth Line, the latest addition to London’s growing public transport network, is set to finally open to passengers this week.

Long delayed and well over budget, the Elizabeth Line – also known as Crossrail – has been the subject of much criticism over the years, but is expected to increase the capital’s train capacity by 10%.

A journey from Paddington to Canary Wharf takes just 18 minutes when the new line is operational. But what exactly is the Elizabeth Line, where does it go, when will it go – and how much did it cost to build?

What is the Elizabeth line?

The Elizabeth Line, or Crossrail, is a new passenger train service connecting central London with some of its surrounding areas.

It was officially opened by the Queen on May 17 ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The first passenger service on the route will run this week.

As with the other London Underground lines, the Elizabeth Line has its own purple roundel. The line is also shown in purple on London Underground maps.

The Elizabeth Line will open in time for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June


(Getty Images)

Elizabeth Line trains will carry more passengers – up to 1,500 per train – than other London Underground trains.

Work on the new line took decades, with the first East-West Crossrail system recommended by a government study as early as 1974.

It was not until 2007 that the project received final approval, and work began in May 2009. After a series of delays, it took just over 13 years for this work to be completed.

Where does the Elizabeth Line go?

The 73-mile Elizabeth Line runs between Berkshire to the west and Essex to the east, passing through central London.

Its western terminus is at Reading, its eastern terminus at Shenfield. The line will also serve Heathrow Airport, with stops at Terminals 2 and 3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5.

A total of 10 new stations have been built along the central and south-eastern sections of the line, while another 31 existing stations are being upgraded.

The updated subway map now shows the Elizabeth line in purple



When does the Elizabeth Line open?

The Elizabeth Line’s first service will operate from Abbey Wood to Paddington on Tuesday 24th May at 6.30am.

However, the line will not initially operate direct end-to-end services as it will open in phases. Also, the new Bond Street station will not open until later this year.

Initially it will run in three separate sections: between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington; From Paddington to Abbey Wood and from Shenfield to Liverpool Street.

From the autumn, Elizabeth Line trains will run from Heathrow beyond Paddington and through the central section of the service.

The line will be fully operational from May 2023 when its full timetable is introduced.

The line was originally scheduled to open by December 2018. If the first service runs on Tuesday, however, it will be around three and a half years after that date.

How much does it cost to travel on the Elizabeth Line?

The Elizabeth Line fares are the same as the London Underground. That was Approved by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in 2018.

As a result, journeys within zones 1 to 6 cost the same as a standard tube journey, while fares elsewhere on the Elizabeth Line are the same as the existing rail services.

Will the Elizabeth Line be open 24 hours?

The Crossrail project was first approved in 2007


(Getty Images)

The Elizabeth Line will not operate 24 hours a day. Instead, the trains initially run every five minutes from Monday to Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

There will be no Sunday services, however, except on 5 June when trains for the Platinum Jubilee, Transport for London, run from 8am to 10pm has said.

How much did the Elizabeth Line cost?

The Elizabeth Line or Crossrail project is estimated to have cost £18.9bn – more than £4bn over the original £14.8bn budget.

Plagued by delays and cost overruns, the project has drawn heavy criticism, particularly from people in regions comparatively lacking in public transport investment.

Why was the Elizabeth Line built?

The Elizabeth Line aims to increase rail capacity within London, reduce journey times, improve accessibility and boost the capital’s economy.

But with much of Britain’s regional rail network outside of London in a state of disrepair, many have wondered why so much public money has been poured into Crossrail.

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