London Crossrail route, opening date and what we know so far


(Crossrail Ltd)

The Crossrail project will be launched at the end of June, promised Transport for London.

An exact opening date has yet to be announced, but the service is currently more than three years behind schedule and is expected to have a total cost of nearly £19billion.

Test trains are running along the line ahead of its opening to passengers in central London, and mass evacuation tests involving thousands of role-playing volunteers are expected to take place over the coming weekends.

TfL has permission to spend a further £1.1bn to bring the line into full service but, as things stand, have only been able to secure £825m in loans.

The high-speed train and metro link will connect the western outer edges of the capital to the eastern outer.

Crossrail chiefs pledged on Tuesday January 18 that the line will stay on track to see the central section – connecting Paddington and Abbey Wood – open by the revised June 2022 deadline.

The other sections, from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield in the east, are currently expected to open in the fall.

The full line will eventually allow passengers to travel from Reading and Heathrow through central London to Shenfield or Abbey Wood without having to change trains. The final version of the timetable for the entire line should be in place by May 2023.

When trains begin along the route, the service will be known as the Elizabeth Line.

TfL Commissioner Andy Byford said: “The Elizabeth Line is extremely complex and the phase of trial operations will continue until it is clear that the highest levels of safety and reliability are in place. before the railway could be opened to customers.

What is the Elizabeth line?

It has been touted as the capital’s biggest and most significant transport upgrade since the expansion of the Tube network over 100 years ago and promises to change the lives of millions of Londoners and commuters.

The route will pass through 41 stations, stretching over 60 miles, from Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west through central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

More than 1.4 billion metro journeys were made in 2018/2019, according to TfL. It is hoped the new service will ease the burden on the network while meeting the needs of a London population which is growing by 100,000 people a year.

It is believed that over 200 million passengers will use the Elizabeth Line each year.

Nine new stations are being built as part of the scheme, at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House and Woolwich.

An existing station at Abbey Wood has been redeveloped for Crossrail.

Elizabeth Line delays and costs

The initial funding allocated to Crossrail was £14.6 billion in 2010. In 2018 it was revised to £17.6 billion.

Just three months before the scheduled opening ceremony in 2018, the first of the delays has been announced, with the most recent declaring that the central section of the line will open by the end of June 2022.

The agreed funding has since risen to £18.8bn. TfL has permission to spend a further £1.1bn to bring the line into full service but, as things stand, have only been able to secure £825m in loans.

The impact of the pandemic will cost Crossrail around £1bn in lost fares, according to TfL.

The London Assembly is also seeking assurances from TfL that it will be able to fund the rest of the project if Omicron delays the launch further.

Opening dates and main travel times

The central section of the line will be launched by the end of June, according to TfL. The other sections should open in the fall.

Central section: to be launched by June

Trains will depart from a new Elizabeth Line station in Paddington and go to Abbey Wood, a route that passes through major employment hubs such as Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.

Examples of travel times:

  • Paddington to Canary Wharf will take 17 minutes

  • Bond Street to Liverpool Street will take seven minutes

  • Woolwich to Farringdon will take 14 minutes

The east and west sections will open later.

East section: commissioning scheduled for fall 2022

This section will work from Liverpool Street main station at Shenfield in Essex, through eastern regions such as Stratford and Romford.

Examples of travel times:

West section: commissioning scheduled for fall 2022

This course will start at Paddington main station, splitting just after Hayes and Harlington, with a branch going to Maidenhead and Reading and the other to Heathrow airport terminals.

Examples of travel times:


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