The Elizabeth Line – A New Way of Transport for London – Officio

On the 24th May 2022, the brand-new £18bn project opened up to the citizens of the UK. Stretching over 100km, all the way from Reading to Heathrow in the west through central tunnels across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

The new railway line, built by Crossrail Ltd will stop at precisely 41 accessible locations – 10 of them being new ones – and it is expected to serve up to at least 200 million people annually.

Opening Stages

This new trainline will actually be operating as three separate railways – with the services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting into the central tunnels later on in 2022. But, when the final stages are complete, customers will be able to travel seamlessly from Abbey Wood to Heathrow and Reading, and then from Shenfield to Heathrow. However, there will be some changes made to the line throughout its existence, these are:

  • From Autumn 2022 – Reading and Heathrow travelers can ride east all the way to Abbey Wood without changing at Paddington and people travelling from Shenfield can go west to Paddington without changing at Liverpool Street.
  • By May 2023 – The separate sections of Elizabeth Line are fully connected with services running to the final timetable, plus the addition of 24 trains an hour running at the busiest times between Paddington and Whitechapel.

From the 24th May 2022- subject to any final safety approvals:

  • The services which ran as Tfl Rail were rebranded as the Elizabeth Line
  • The central section opened, adding nine new stations to the Tfl network, with Bond Street opening up to Elizabeth Line customers in late 2022.
  • The service will start with 12 trains an hour, running between Paddington and Abbey Wood from 06:30-23:00, seven days a week

Fares & Ticketing

The thought in the back of everyone’s mind, always, is what are the prices like? Well, the fares on this new line, will match the prices on the Tube across most of London, with journeys to Heathrow being the only exception. The fare to get to Paddington will set you back around £10.70 off-peak and £12.70 at peak times, but even with these prices, it is still half the current cost of the current £27 standard fare on the 15-minute Heathrow Express.

According to the London Council’s website, Freedom Pass holders will be able to use their passes from 9am on weekdays and throughout weekends and Bank Holidays on the entire Elizabeth line up to and including Reading. Disabled pass holders will also be able to use their passes on the entire Elizabeth line up to and including Reading. More exceptions are:

  • Contactless pay-as-you-go is excepted throughout the Elizabeth Line.
  • Oyster cards and Travelcards are accepted but not west of West Drayton.
  • Customers using Oyster to pay as you go who want to travel to or from stations beyond West Drayton will need to use contactless instead or buy a paper ticket.
  • Customers with a Railcard discount set on their Oyster card benefit from 1/3 off off-peak pay as you go fares.

Main Features

The newly introduced railway is one of the most complex digital railways in the world, and does actually include pioneering technology and design. It includes at least 41 new stations, coming equipped with:

  • Platform edge screens – a safety barrier that helps to keep the platform cool and provides lighting, signs, speakers and CCTV.
  • Passenger information above each door – showing departing services.
  • Signs designed to be easily legible, with clear, accessible language helped by symbols.
  • Newly designed seating.

In the areas outside stations, there are features such as forecourts, plazas and wider pavements that create pedestrian friendly and accessible spaces. The following links have more information on how each station was built: Abbey Wood, Bond Street, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Whitechapel and Woolwich.

In addition to all these new features, behind-the-scenes there have been eight artists chosen to make public artworks for the new line stations. These artists have developed and created new pieces in close collaboration with Crossrail engineers and architects. The results are a series of works that are both physically and conceptually integrated into the fabric of each new below-ground station, and often make a point in referencing aspects of the station’s location within the city. They are the following:

  • Paddington: Spencer Finch – ‘A Cloud Index’
  • Bond Street: Darren Almond – ‘Horizon Line’
  • Tottenham Court Road: Richard Wright – ‘no title’
  • Farringdon: Simon Periton – ‘Avalanche’ & ‘Spectre’
  • Liverpool Street: Conrad Shawcross – ‘Manifold (Major Third) 5:4’ and Yayoi Kusama – ‘Infinite Accumulation’
  • Whitechapel: Chantal Joffe – ‘A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel’
  • Canary Wharf: Michal Rovner – ‘Transitions’

Work on the Elizabeth Line is still ongoing, despite opening already, you can expect the Bond Street Elizabeth line station to be completed soon, with Wi-Fi, 4G, intensive services and surface station upgrades all to come. All in all, this brand new station is here, reducing congestion at underground stations whilst also increasing rail capacity to the capital city.

Interested in riding this new line to visit some of our London offices? Click here to find out what office spaces we provide in the capital city.