- Paddington Elizabeth line station transfers from Crossrail to Transport for London
- Six of the ten new stations are now preparing for passenger service, with Whitechapel next to follow this summer
- Twelve trains per hour operating through central tunnels as part of Trial Running phase
- Railway on track for passenger service in first half of 2022
Paddington Elizabeth line station has been officially transferred to Transport for London (TfL), which will operate the transformational new Elizabeth line.
This is the sixth of the new Elizabeth line stations to be transferred over to TfL, following Custom House, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Woolwich and Liverpool Street stations.
The Elizabeth line will help transform life and travel in 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 railway will be crucial to London’s recovery from the pandemic, helping avoid a car-led recovery by providing new journey options and will support wider regeneration, creating jobs, business opportunities and providing a huge economic boost. It will also connect London’s major employment centres and increase central London rail capacity by 10 per cent.
Delivery of the Elizabeth line is in its complex final stages and there has been significant progress across the project in the past couple of months. Trial Running of trains through the central tunnels began on 10 May as part of the major railway trials taking place throughout this year. The number of trains operating in the tunnels has increased from four trains per hour in May to eight trains per hour in June and reached 12 trains per hour on 12 July. This will be the initial level of service on the Elizabeth line when it enters passenger service in the first half of 2022.
Crossrail will also be trialling 24 trains per hour later this summer. These train movements are critical for increasing mileage across the network, supporting reliability growth of the railway and flushing out any issues with the systems and signalling software. Once completed, it will demonstrate that the Elizabeth line can operate at the full timetable needed for when services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield start operating through the central tunnels.
Trial Operations will commence later this year and is the final phase of testing to ensure the safety and reliability of the railway for public use. This includes real-time testing of more than 150 scenarios including evacuations of trains and stations before opening the Elizabeth line.
A revised staged opening plan for earlier opening of the Elizabeth line Stage 5 has been developed and approved by Sponsors (TfL and Department for Transport). The latest plans ensure the Elizabeth line services from Reading and Heathrow and Shenfield can connect with the central tunnels as soon as possible after the opening of the central section of the railway. The earliest expected date for this is autumn 2022. Full end to end services will be timetabled by no later than May 2023.
Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “Paddington station is world-renowned thanks to Isambard Kingdom Brunel and next year it will also be known as a key station on the Elizabeth line, providing a vital interchange with national rail services allowing customers to travel through central London and beyond.
“The Elizabeth line will transform life and travel in London and the South East and play a key role in supporting London’s recovery from the pandemic when it opens in the first half of next year. There is still much to do before the Elizabeth line can open but great progress has been made with this incredible railway over the last few months with the start of Trial Running and the majority of the central stations, including Paddington, now transferred to TfL.”
Mark Wild, Crossrail Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that Paddington Elizabeth line station has been transferred to Transport for London. This beautiful new station will provide a gateway for those travelling from the Thames Valley or Heathrow into central London and beyond, providing greater transport links, better job opportunities and a significant economic boost.
“Over the past months we have entered the Trial Running phase, starting with four trains per hour and have now reached 12 trains per hour through the central tunnels and six of our central section stations are now safely in the hands of TfL. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done but the railway remains on track to open in the first half of next year.”
Kay Buxton, Chief Executive, The Paddington Partnership, said: “The transfer of Paddington to TfL marks the next stop on London’s journey towards opening the railway next year. Paddington has long been the seat of transport innovation and adventure, and the arrival of the Elizabeth line will seal its position as the gateway to the capital, with Bond Street and the West End in three minutes, the City in 10 minutes and Canary Wharf in 17 minutes.
“Step-free from train to street, Paddington’s Elizabeth line station is a stunning compliment to Brunel’s masterpiece at Paddington. Nestled in the centre of the Opportunity Area, the Elizabeth line will bring a massive 1.5 million extra people within a commuting distance of Paddington, a game-changer for reinforcing Paddington’s position as one of London’s key employment centres, echoed by market confidence and investment in the location.”
James Moloney, Project Director, Costain Skanska Joint Venture, said: “Achieving this key milestone is testament to the dedication and hard work of everyone who has been involved as part of our Costain Skanska Joint Venture team. It’s a complex project that has been delivered during COVID-19 restrictions. Our teams have responded to the challenge, with the handover from Crossrail to TfL testament to the efforts of the many people involved in delivering this important new station.
“The Paddington Elizabeth line station will be a key part of London’s transport infrastructure for generations to come, helping people to travel sustainably into and around this amazing city. We continue to remain focused on working collaboratively to deliver the final elements of the scheme.”
Passengers travelling from Paddington mainline station can now benefit from improvements as part of the Elizabeth line with new seating, information screens and improved access to platform 1 at the mainline station and to Eastbourne Terrace buses and taxis.
Built below ground adjacent to the 19th century Grade I listed building, the new Elizabeth line station has a 120-metre-long entrance canopy on Eastbourne Terrace, it extends four levels below Eastbourne Terrace and Departures Road with entrances via a newly pedestrianised public area that connects to the existing mainline station. TfL will be responsible for the station as the Infrastructure Manager and the contractor, Costain Skanska Joint Venture, will continue demobilisation from the site.
The Elizabeth line project is the most recent transformation of Paddington and builds on the legacy of the permanent station building by Isambard Kingdom Brunel that opened in 1854, the arrival of London Underground in 1863 and the opening of the original section between Paddington and Farringdon by the Metropolitan Railway.
Paddington is already a busy terminus for local, regional and international passengers, and the new station further increases capacity at this major interchange and secures Paddington’s role as one of London’s most important transport hubs and a key gateway to the city for the Thames Valley, Wales and the west of England. The Elizabeth line will provide new journey options for those travelling through central London, with journeys from Paddington to Farringdon taking just eight minutes.
For media enquiries – Andy Day, 07710 852966
Notes to editors:
- Paddington is also the terminus for the Heathrow Express and TfL Rail services to and from Heathrow Airport and Reading and has two Tube stations providing connections to the Bakerloo, Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City lines.
- TfL Rail services from Paddington will become Elizabeth line services when the railway opens.
- A new Bakerloo line link tunnel will integrate the Elizabeth line station with the Bakerloo line via a step-free route. Additional work at Paddington Tube station, linked to a separate third-party development, is also underway to create a new, larger Bakerloo line ticket hall with step-free access, and is expected to complete in mid-2022.