London’s Elizabeth Line will finally launch later this month after years of delays
Image credit: Tfl
Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that the Elizabeth line, London’s latest tube extension, will open later this month.
Passengers will be able to travel on the new line from 24 May 2022 and will see improved transport links from Abbey Wood in the south-east, Shenfield in the north-east and extending to Reading in the west.
The Elizabeth Line should also help to cut journey times and provide additional capacity on London’s tube network. It 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, signage for the line will 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 project has been in the making for a long time, with the Crossrail project being given an initial £14.8bn budget that slowly ballooned over time following repeated delays to stand at around £19bn. In October, MPs on the Public Accounts Committee said that Crossrail was still facing a funding shortfall of £150m.
TfL said the Elizabeth Line will be “crucial” to London’s recovery from the pandemic as it will help to avoid a car-led recovery and support regeneration across the capital. Last year, TfL said it would need at least two years of additional financial support to keep it afloat due to the disastrous effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on its finances as passenger numbers fell rapidly.
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.
Andy Byford, TfL 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.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the Elizabeth line will make London “safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous”.
He continued: “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.”
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