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London’s cityscape turns purple on the eve of Elizabeth line opening

By TfL Press Office

London’s cityscape turns purple on the eve of Elizabeth line opening

Tower Bridge, the London Eye, City Hall and the Gherkin are among more than 30 iconic London locations turning purple tonight (23 May) on the eve of the Elizabeth line opening to passengers. 

Prominent skyscrapers taking part include the third tallest building in the UK, One Canada Square, the second tallest building in the City of London financial district, 110 Bishopsgate, and the distinctive Leadenhall Building, often known as ‘The Cheesegrater’. 

Key bridges across central London - including the Grade II* listed Westminster Bridge - will have coordinated light displays tonight and tomorrow night. The unified, subtly moving artwork installation by New-York based artist Leo Villareal extends across nine Thames bridges, from London to Lambeth Bridge, to form the longest public art commission in the world.

London Bridge lit up purple

The Elizabeth line will connect services from Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east and Heathrow Terminals 4 and 5 and Reading to the west.

The first services will depart Paddington and Abbey Wood Elizabeth line stations from 06:30am tomorrow. Trains will run every five minutes between 06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday. 

London is paying for most of the Elizabeth line, with nearly 70 per cent of the total funding paid by London - made up of roughly 30 per cent from London's farepayers, around 40 per cent from London's businesses - combined with 30 per cent from Government.

The new railway is expected to support thousands of new homes and jobs and will boost the UK economy by an estimated £42bn. 

Siemens Crystal Lit Purple 2

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The opening of the Elizabeth line tomorrow is a once in a generation moment for the capital and it is fantastic to see so many famous landmarks across our city lit up in purple in celebration of this historic day. The new line will revolutionise travel in our city and across the south east and bring significant economic benefits to the whole country.”

Andy Byford, Transport for London's Commissioner, said: “The Elizabeth line is going to transform travel across London so I am delighted that so many of the capital’s landmarks are celebrating tonight by turning purple, the colour of the new line.  

“Tomorrow will be a truly historic moment for London and beyond and I can’t wait to welcome customers onboard this magnificent addition to our public transport network. The new railway will become a vital part of London’s recovery by creating faster journeys, new jobs and economic growth.”

Westminster Bridge Lit Purple

Shobi Khan, CEO, Canary Wharf Group said: “Tomorrow is a transformative day for Canary Wharf, TfL and for London. All Londoners and every visitor will benefit. The new line revolutionises connectivity and brings us all closer together. For Canary Wharf, the Elizabeth line will transform our public transport capacity and reduce journey times, allowing more people to visit us.

“Crossrail Place at The Canary Wharf station is already a vital hub in our community with its collection of fantastic restaurants, bars, gyms and retail, as well as its innovative roof garden. The station will serve as a fantastic gateway to Canary Wharf for decades to come.”

The full list of participating locations are:  

  •  The London Eye
  •  Tower Bridge
  •  Leadenhall Building, also known as 122 Leadenhall Street or The Cheesegrater, in the City of London
  •  The Gherkin at 30 St Mary’s Axe
  •  110 Bishopsgate, also known as the Salesforce Tower, in the City of London 
  •  Tower 42 in City of London
  •  City Hall in east London 
  •  Various spots across the Canary Wharf Group estate including the top of One Canada Square, light benches in Canada Square Park, Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Jubilee Park, the Camille Walala Tunnel at Adams Plaza Bridge and The Ivy in Canada Square Park 
  •  Sea Containers London on the Southbank
  •  Department for Transport, Great Minster House 
  •  Coutts Building and 230 Bishopsgate in central London
  •  Marble Arch
  •  Barbican Conservatory
  •  London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford
  •  Battersea Power Station 
  •  British Library
  •  Sky Garden 
  •  ExCeL London in east London
  •  Guildhall in the City of London
  •  Trees along Oxford Street 
  •  London cable car in east London 
  •  Paddington Central, the Exchange Square (Broadgate campus) and the Fulcrum in Paddington
  •  Liverpool Street Network Rail station 
  •  Greenwich Town Hall and Woolwich Equitable pub 
  •  Palestra, TfL’s headquarters in Southwark 

List of bridges involved in the coordinated light display with the support of Illuminated River Foundation: 

  • London Bridge
  • Cannon Street Bridge
  • Southwark Bridge
  • Blackfriars Road Bridge
  • Waterloo Bridge
  • Westminster Bridge
  • Lambeth Bridge
  • Millennium Bridge (with white lighting)
  • Golden Jubilee Bridges (with white lighting)


Contact Information

TfL Press Office

Transport for London

0343 222 4141

[email protected]


Notes to editors

Latest Elizabeth line images are available to download from here:

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