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Crossrail Project Update

By Crossrail Ltd

The Elizabeth line will open on Tuesday 24 May 2022 with services between Paddington and Abbey Wood. TfL Rail services from Reading and Heathrow to Paddington mainline, and Shenfield to Liverpool Street mainline will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line on this day.

The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London and the South East by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity, and transforming accessibility with spacious new stations and walk-through trains. 

The new line is set to be crucial to London’s recovery from the pandemic, helping avoid a car-led recovery by providing new journey options, supporting regeneration across the capital, and adding an estimated £42bn to the UK economy.


Delivering a safe railway remains our priority and this is reflected in the overall health and safety indicators with the programme continuing to maintain a good safety record in both operations and delivery. 


Trial Operations began on 20 November 2021 with a schedule of 150 trials to be carried out. Activity took place most days, including weekends to trial different processes and elements of the railway.

In February and March 2022 five large scale exercises were completed with as many as 2,000 staff volunteers taking part. These scenarios included simulated evacuations from a train – to the track, to a station and to an emergency escape shaft. The final scenario trialled a 24 trains per hour service (tph) - the same as the peak time service from Paddington to Whitechapel when the Elizabeth line is fully open.

This phase involved a range of organisations, including TfL and London Underground, MTR Elizabeth line (as the operator), and Network Rail collaborating on the response to trial scenarios along with thousands of staff volunteers. Emergency services including the British Transport Police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service were also involved, demonstrating how they would respond to incidents on the network and in stations.

Significant progress was made towards completing the new railway over Christmas and Easter with planned upgrades taking place. These upgrades included improvements to the signalling, train, control communication and tunnel ventilation systems.

Following the completion of the large-scale exercises, the project began a period of timetabled running, starting on 28 March, with trains running through the central tunnels at a frequency of 12 tph. 

TfL has confirmed that, subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open on Tuesday 24 May 2022. The timely delivery of the remaining assurance evidence is critical to the opening of the railway. All the technical files for the opening of the railway have been submitted to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for review and sign off.  Work continues to further build reliability ahead of welcoming customers in the new section of the railway from Paddington to Abbey Wood.


The Elizabeth line is the most significant addition to London’s transport network in a generation. The new railway will transform life and travel in London and the South East, reduce journey times, create additional capacity, transform accessibility and provide a huge economic boost.

Starting Tuesday 24 May 2022, the Elizabeth line will operate 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood, Monday to Saturday from 06:30 to 23:00. Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn. 

The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year. All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line.

Elizabeth line map May 2022

Customers travelling between Reading or Heathrow into London will need to change at Paddington for services into the central section of the route, and customers from Shenfield into London will need to change at Liverpool Street. Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel.

Customers will be able to plan their journeys on the Elizabeth line using the TfL Go app and Journey Planner ahead of the railway opening. The new railway will connect stations such as Paddington to Canary Wharf in only 17 minutes, transforming how Londoners and visitors navigate the capital. This journey currently takes more than 30 minutes to complete using the Tube.

All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance. Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich.

Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which means that it will not open with the other stations on 24 May. The station continues to make good progress and the team at Bond Street are working hard to open the station to customers later this year.

Full services across the entire route, and an increased frequency of 24 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel will be introduced by May 2023.


Enhanced station upgrade works in the east continue at Ilford and Romford. Romford station has experienced delays with gaining acceptance of the fire strategy and design and general assurance to enable the handover of the station, however all parties are collaborating to achieve the earliest possible opening date.  Ilford’s entry into service is currently forecast for summer 2022, with good progress being made in relation to the ticket hall slab replacement and associated demolition works.


TfL Rail delivered a Public Performance Measure of 92.3 per cent during Period 13 (9 January – 5 February 2022), with the overall Moving Annual Average trend ending the year (2021/22) at 94.2 per cent. 

The lengthening of Class 345 trains from seven carriages to nine carriages has now been completed for services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield and between Paddington and Heathrow. Services between Paddington and Reading are currently operated by a combination of nine carriage and seven carriage Class 345 trains. The seven carriage trains will be progressively converted to nine carriages during May 2022 with the exception of three seven carriage trains which will remain in use until the start of the next phase of opening in the autumn.

First Class 345 9 Car Train to Heathrow_337728