news

Elizabeth line officially opens for passenger service

Posted: 24 May 2022 | | No comments yet

In addition to reducing ticket prices by more than a third, the new Elizabeth line will cut journey times in half – connecting local communities to the centre of London quicker than ever before. 

Elizabeth line officially opens

Credit: Transport for London

Thousands of commuters across London will see their travel costs reduced by over a third and journey times massively reduced as of 24 May 2022, as the Elizabeth line officially opens to the public for passenger service. The new railway, which is supporting new jobs and economic growth throughout the country, is the most significant addition to the capital’s transport network in decades.

Customers have been welcomed by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; London’s Transport Commissioner, Andy Byford; Elizabeth line Director, Howard Smith; Transport for London (TfL) Chief Operating Officer, Andy Lord; and Crossrail CEO, Mark Wild, on the first trains from Paddington and Abbey Wood.

Nine brand new stations in central London are opening, providing Elizabeth line services every five minutes from 06:30 until 23:00 Monday to Saturday and the railway’s routes now appear on the Tube map. Trains on the new line will reduce journey times from Abbey Wood to Paddington from 58 to 29 minutes. They will also cut ticket prices by more than a third, from £6.30 to £4.30 – saving passengers money, while also facilitating economic growth in the long-term. 

Bringing an estimated £42 billion to the UK economy, the state-of-the-art line will see each train carry up to 1500 passengers, increasing central London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent, transforming travel across the city and connecting local communities to the centre of London quicker than ever before.

London is paying for most of the Elizabeth line, with nearly 70 per cent of the total funding paid by the capital – made up of roughly 30 per cent from London’s farepayers and around 40 per cent from London’s businesses – combined with 30 per cent from the government.

In order to bring this line to life, more than 55,000 jobs and 1000 apprenticeships have been created over the past 14 years, with over 5000 of these jobs given to previously unemployed workers. In addition, 96 per cent of contracts for the project have been awarded to companies within Britain, with 60 per cent of these going to businesses based outside of London – ensuring taxpayer money used to build the line will bring benefits to the entire UK for decades to come.  

All Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich provide level access with all 41 stations eventually being step-free, ensuring that everyone can enjoy cheaper and faster travel across London, as well as the stunning new stations on route.

Elizabeth line

Credit: Transport for London

The official opening of the Elizabeth line follows a ceremonial opening on 17 May 2022, in which Her Majesty the Queen unveiled a plaque at Paddington Station to mark the completion of the new railway. Eight buses with special commemorative wraps are currently in service across the capital as part of TfL’s celebrations to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Secretary of State, Grant Shapps said: “As iconic as its namesake, the Elizabeth line is a beacon of British success, not just for this marvel of engineering but for the enormous benefits it brings to the entire nation, with £42 billion for the UK economy and 55,000 jobs just two of many. London’s transport network is its lifeblood and the £9 billion we’ve contributed to make the Elizabeth Line a reality is once again testament to our unwavering support for this marvellous city, its inspiring people and the millions of visitors it attracts every year.” 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Today is a historic day as the Elizabeth line opens to passengers. This is a huge moment, not just for London but the entire country – particularly in this special Jubilee year. This brand new line is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades. It will add billions to our economy and is set to serve up to 200 million passengers each year. I’m sure passengers will enjoy the modern trains, beautiful step-free stations and the reduced journey times across the capital and the southeast. The Elizabeth line is much more than just a new railway – it will provide a crucial economic boost to the whole country and help to turbo-charge our recovery from the pandemic.”

Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “The Elizabeth line will help transform life and travel in London and the southeast by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity and transforming accessibility with these spacious, uncluttered new stations and walk-through trains. I encourage everyone to visit and use our stunning new addition to the transport network.”

Responding to the official launch of the Elizabeth line this morning, Nick Bowes, Chief Executive of Centre for London, said: “The opening of the Elizabeth line is going to revolutionise east-west journeys in London and transform the way that people think about the city. Yes, it’s late and yes, it’s gone over budget, and it is crucial that the mistakes made aren’t repeated on other major projects, but the fact remains it is a mammoth feat of engineering and a major boost for the city as it continues to recover from COVID-19. Taking 14 years from approval to opening is a stark reminder of how long schemes of this nature take to build, which is why the long-term planning for the next big schemes – be it Crossrail 2 or the Bakerloo Line Extension – is needed now, and can’t be shelved because of short-termism.” 

Latest figures

TfL has reported that an estimated 130,000 journeys have taken place across the Elizabeth line up until 10:00 on the morning of its launch (24 May). Of these, 65,000 journeys involved the new central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood.

In terms of specific stations on the Elizabeth line:

  • The new Paddington Elizabeth line station has already seen 14,000 entries and exits up until 10:00
  • The new Canary Wharf Elizabeth line station has already seen 9,000 entries and exits up until 10:00
  • The new Woolwich Elizabeth line station has already seen 6,000 entries and exits up until 10:00.