<p>Boarding soon: an Elizabeth Line train at Woolwich in southeast London</p>

Boarding soon: an Elizabeth Line train at Woolwich in southeast London

Crossrail opening date revealed

First Elizabeth Line train will arrive 41 months late – and won’t initially run on Sundays, nor stop at Bond Street

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 04 May 2022 10:33
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Crossrail, the £19bn project to build a fast east-west link through London, will finally open to passengers on 24 May – 41 months later than originally planned.

But the line beneath the capital will not run on Sundays until some time in the autumn, and one of the key central London stations – Bond Street – will not open until later in the year.

The botched rail project has been branded the Elizabeth Line. It is designed to link Reading and Heathrow airport, west of the capital, with Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in southeast London.

Andy Byford, commissioner for Transport for London (TfL), said: “I am delighted that we can now announce a date for the opening of the Elizabeth line in May.

“We are using these final few weeks to continue to build up reliability on the railway and get the Elizabeth line ready to welcome customers.

“The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network.”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades, and will revolutionise travel across the capital and the south east – as well as delivering a £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy and hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs.

“Green public transport is the future and the opening of the Elizabeth line is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year.”

The only exception to the “no Sunday services” rule is a special service on 5 June for the Platinum Jubilee weekend. “Services will run from approximately 8am to 10pm,” says TfL

On other days trains will run from around 6.30am to 11pm, significantly shorter than the hours of operation on the London Underground.

Initially the only through-London service will be between Abbey Wood in the southeast of the capital and Paddington station on the western side of the city centre.

Travellers hoping to travel from Reading or Heathrow airport to Shenfield will need to change trains twice: at Paddington and at Liverpool Street.

The western half of the project will be connected through to Abbey Wood in “autumn 2022” with the final timetable – involving trains every five minutes in both directions – by May 2023.

Trains were due to start running through the heart of London between Paddington in the west and Whitechapel in the east in December 2018.

But with only months to go before the launch, the project team admitted it was way behind schedule.

Since then costs have mushroomed to £4bn above the original £14.8bn budget – a rise of 27 per cent.

Testing the system is currently costing around £2m per day.

When complete, the railway will include 26 miles of new tunnels and a total of 41 stations.

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