Crossrail: When will the Elizabeth Line open in full and how much work is left?
Excitement is building in London as Crossrail is finally set to open in May, four years after originally planned.
TfL announced on Wednesday that services on the Elizabeth Line – the name Crossrail will assume when it opens – will begin running on Tuesday 24 May.
Initially the Elizabeth Line will operate as three separate railways, with the central tunnels of the line yet to be connected to services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield.
From May 24, services will begin running on the central section of the line between Paddington and Abbey Wood in southeast London. Elizabeth Line services will run at a frequency of 12 trains per hour between 6:30am and 11pm Monday to Saturday.
Commuters can expect to see drastic reductions in journey times from May 24 when the Elizabeth Line opens.
The journey from Abbey Wood to Canary Wharf is expected to be reduced from 40 minutes to around 15 minutes while commuters travelling from Abbey Wood to Paddington will see their journey time decrease from 50 minutes to less than 30 minutes.
Initially, passengers travelling from Reading or Heathrow into central London will need to change at Paddington while those travelling from Shenfield will need to change at Liverpool Street.
Passengers will have to tap in and out at these stations to connect to Elizabeth Line services.
The central section of the Elizabeth Line is expected to be connected to Reading and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield in the east by autumn this year, meaning that passengers will be able to travel the entire length of the line without the need change at Liverpool Street or Paddington.
Engineering work and testing will be carried out on Sundays and outside of operating hours to allow for the frequency of Elizabeth Line services to increase to 22 trains per hour in autumn at peak times between Paddington and Whitechapel.
Software that allows the trains doors to correctly line up with platforms will also be updated during this time.
Once the central tunnels are connected to the rest of the line, TfL expects a journey from Heathrow Airport to Canary Wharf to take a little over 30 minutes.
The Elizabeth Line is expected to be fully operational by May 2023, at which point services will be running at a frequency of 24 trains per hour.