The Elizabeth line opened on Tuesday 24 May 2022 a new passenger service between ten new London stations from Paddington to Abbey Wood, using the Class 345 trains through new tunnels under central London.
The launch brings immediate benefits to passengers travelling between these stations with 12 trains per hour, in each direction, all day until the next phase of opening. Services from Reading and Heathrow to Paddington mainline, and from Shenfield to Liverpool Street mainline have been rebranded from TfL Rail to the Elizabeth line.
Until the next phase of opening the Elizabeth line will operate as three separate railways. The services on the east and west will continue to run into the mainline stations and passengers wishing to continue their journey to one of the new Elizabeth line central London stations will need to change to Paddington or Liverpool Street Elizabeth line station.
Opening any railway is a massive job. With new stations, new infrastructure, new track and new trains, it is important that the Elizabeth line is opened in phases to ensure it is safe, reliable, performs as expected and is maintainable.
The Elizabeth line is a complex railway that will operate across the Great Western mainline, one of Britain's oldest and busiest railways, a newly built railway under central London, and the Great Eastern mainline, built in Victorian times. Spanning old and new means the Elizabeth line trains must operate on a purpose-built railway serving only the Elizabeth line, and on the existing national rail tracks shared with other operators and freight.
To add extra complexity, Elizabeth line trains will need to effortlessly transition between three signalling systems across the line. It’s vital therefore that we build reliability in the trains and systems over many hours to ensure they are ready to safely carry the estimated 200 million passengers that will use the Elizabeth line when fully open.
Each element of the Elizabeth line goes through a rigorous testing and commissioning process. Learn more about how we handover and assure the railway here.
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