London’s Underground system is one of the oldest and most comprehensive in the world, however the new Elizabeth Line is one of the biggest change in London infrastructure in a century. Three-and-a-half years late and at least £4bn over-budget, the Elizabeth line has finally opened. When it’s fully operational, the new rail line, will serve up to 200 million passengers each year. The line is expected to increase London’s train capacity by 10%.
The project was originally known as Crossrail has built a 73-mile (118km) railway line all across south-east England. It runs from Essex in the east to Berkshire in the west, running underground through central London.
There are two western branches, which terminate at Reading and Heathrow Airport, and two eastern branches, ending at Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in south-east London.
Ten new stations have been built for the central London section, which connect Paddington, Bond Street, Liverpool St and Canary Wharf.
The line was first conceived in the 1980s, however work on the project did not start until 2009 and 10,000 workers have been employed on the 13-year project.
Visitors to London will notice that the trains are bigger, carrying up to 1,500 passengers – significantly more than a London Underground train.
At the moment, a full service is not available yet. Initially, trains will run six days a week, every five minutes from 06:30 to 23:00 with no Sunday service. The line will operate in three parts – from Abbey Wood to Paddington, from Heathrow and Reading to Paddington, and Shenfield to Liverpool Street. Bond Street station in central London will not open until later this year, due to problems during construction. From the autumn, trains from Heathrow will no longer terminate at Paddington, and will continue on through the central section of the line. Passengers won’t be able to travel directly from one end of the line to the other until May 2023.
The new line will mean significant shorter times for many travellers. Elizabeth line fares are identical to those on London Underground. Services currently operating as TfL Rail will remain unchanged although there will be a £7.20 premium on journeys to and from Heathrow airport.
Peak single journeys to Heathrow from central London (weekdays between 06:30-09:30 and 16:00-19:00) will cost £12.70 and be £2 cheaper at other times. In comparison, peak and off-peak Tube fares are currently £5.50 and £3.50 respectively, while the Heathrow Express costs £25.
Older person’s freedom passes allowing free travel, including to Heathrow and Reading, will be accepted after 09:00 on weekdays and at weekends.
The final cost of Crossrail is estimated to be £19bn, but it will no doubt be popular for many visitors and Londoners.
For more information and tickets, visit the Elizabeth Line website here
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here