The new Elizabeth line is set to shake up tube travel and slash journey times in and out of London.
Named after Britain's beloved monarch, it was none other than Queen Elizabeth II herself who was tasked with the official grand opening of the new Elizabeth tube line. Dressed in a sunny yellow shade, royal fans went into a frenzy as the Queen tried out an Oyster card (opens in new tab) at the Paddington station entrance of her namesake line. Which she reportedly 'moved heaven' to attend (opens in new tab) proceedings.
Now members of the public can look forward to taking a trip on the new TfL tube addition. With passengers in Reading and Essex - and those from Heathrow Airport too - all set to benefit from the Crossrail service. We share the all-important opening date and tube map, plus details of fares and how it will operate.
Is the Elizabeth line open?
Yes, the Elizabeth line is now open and operating as a route on the London Underground. Transport for London made the line open for public use on 24 May 2022, with the first trains departing from Paddington and Abbey Wood stations at 6:30am. Going forward, passengers will be able to travel on three separate routes: from Abbey Wood to Paddington, from Heathrow and Reading to Paddington, and Shenfield to Liverpool Street.
12 trains will run every hour between 6:30am and 11pm on the new Elizabeth line services. This applies Monday to Saturday, with no service currently planned for Sundays.
The Elizabeth line has experienced a number of issues during construction. This is why only separate parts of the line will open in May, with a full opening staggered over time.
Also known as Crossrail, the May partial opening is in fact three and half years later than previously planned. And the cost to complete the line is now estimated at around £4 billion over-budget.
Phase one opening: May 2022
The Elizabeth line opens, but the full service line is split up and will operate as "three separate railways". This means that passengers from Reading and Heathrow Airport wanting to access central London will need to change at Paddington station. Similarly those wanting central London from Shenfield will have to change at Liverpool Street station.
Travellers are required to tap in and out when changing stations on Elizabeth Line services.
During this time, the Elizabeth line will not serve Bond Street as a stop on the service. This is because work has not yet been completed on the Elizabeth tube stop at Bond Street station.
Phase two opening: Autumn 2022
Transport for London state that later in 2022 - "currently expected to be the autumn" - the central London section of the line will be completed. This means that passengers travelling east (from Shenfield) and west (from Reading and Heathrow) will no longer need to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street station.
Trains will increase from 12 to 22 during the Monday to Friday operating hours (6:30am - 11pm). Sundays will remain service-free with engineering works continuing to take place instead.
Phase two marks good news for those travelling from Heathrow Airport to Canary Wharf. With TfL expecting journeys to take a little over 30 minutes.
Phase three opening: May 2023
The Elizabeth line is expected to run as full from this date. "The final timetable across the entire railway will be in place no later than May 2023," confirm TfL. "The service in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel will remain at 24 trains per hour during the peak."
Elizabeth line: Tube map
Tube travellers can download the current Elizabeth line tube map from Transport for London online (opens in new tab). It clearly shows where passengers will need to change on route to enter central London tube stops. The line shares five stops with the Central line (red) and will hopefully take the pressure off the Underground’s busiest service.
The Elizabeth line is shown as two purple lines. As like memorabilia for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 (opens in new tab), purple is the chosen colour as it's long been associated with royalty.
TfL have also unveiled a new London tube map, which adds the Elizabeth line to the existing system. You can again explore and download this online (opens in new tab).
Elizabeth line stops: Full list
- West Drayton
- Heathrow Airport: Terminals 2&3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5
- Hayes & Hurlington
- West Ealing
- Ealing Broadway
- Acton Main Line
- (openign later) Bond Street
- Tottenham Court Road
- Liverpool Street
- Canary Wharf
- Custom House
- Abbey Wood
- Forest Gate
- Manor Park
- Seven Kings
- Chadwell Heath
- Gidea Park
- Harold Wood
How much will Elizabeth line tickets cost?
Travelling on the Elizabeth line during Peak time will cost you £5.50, whilst Off-Peak journeys will be priced at £3.50. Peak travel occurs Monday to Friday during the times of 6:30-9:30am and 4-5pm. Any time outside of these hours is considered Off-Peak and means a lower price.
There is, however, a £7.20 premium on journeys to and from Heathrow. This means a peak single fare will cost £12.70 to Heathrow Airport or £10.70 if travelling during Off-Peak hours. Though more expensive than the regular fare, it is thought the Heathrow option will be popular for some as it's cheaper that the Heathrow Express ticket price of £25.
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Emily Stedman is the News Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things royal, entertainment, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things celebrity and royal, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.
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