The Elizabeth line is finally opening tomorrow
After 13 years of construction, we can finally travel on the much-anticipated purple line
Every Londoner has heard talks about the new Crossrail, albeit mostly about its delays in opening and increasing cost.
But tomorrow, 24th May, it will finally be open for travel as the Elizabeth line – named after the Queen.
It has been Europe’s biggest construction project in terms of cost, spanning 73 miles with two eastern and two western branches. The eastern branches terminate at Shenfield (Essex) and Abbey Wood (south-east London), whilst the western branches travel to Reading and Heathrow Airport.
The new purple line will have a phased opening with three different routes: the Paddington to Abbey Wood route, the Heathrow/Reading to Paddington route, and the Shenfield to Liverpool Street route.
Later this year, the three individual routes will come together, forming a route from Reading/Heathrow to Abbey Wood and another route from Shenfield to Paddington. Then by next May, we will be able to seamlessly travel throughout the entire line.
The line will mainly run overground outside central London but underground once inside.
10 new stations have also been constructed for the line in central London, which will allow travel from Paddington, Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.
The service will be running from 06:30 to 23:00 every five minutes for six days a week (not on Sundays). Bond Street station also experienced some issues when construction was taking place, so the station won’t be open for the service until later on in the year.
Travel fares on this service will be the same as all other tube lines. Current TfL rail services on the line won’t change, but “there will be a £7.20 premium on journeys to and from Heathrow.”
The opening and budget of Crossrail has changed significantly over the years.
It was initially meant to open in December 2018, but the Crossrail’s chief executive said “the project’s complexity was ‘off the scale’ and integrating multiple signalling systems and new software posed a huge challenge.”
In terms of the budget, Crossrail was meant to cost £14.8bn, but it is now estimated to have eaten up £19bn. The increase in cost is partially due to “ballooning costs – including lost revenue from three and a half years without fares and paying the salary of drivers.”
But even though the project has faced quite a few issues, it will finally begin to operate and cut travel times for various routes in London. The individual train capacity is also much greater than any London Underground service, sitting a maximum of 1,500 passengers.
Will you be travelling on the new Elizabeth line? Click here to check out the full route.