The next stage of the transformational Elizabeth line began Sunday, 6 November, with lines from Reading, Heathrow, and Shenfield now connected with the central tunnels of the Elizabeth line. 

The new ‘through routes’ will open up new, direct journeys across the capital and out to Heathrow Airport and the home counties, connecting jobs, homes, leisure and international travel and driving economic recovery.

Customers travelling from Reading and Heathrow can now travel east to Abbey Wood without needing to change at Paddington mainline station, and customers travelling from Shenfield can travel west to Paddington without needing to change at Liverpool Street mainline station. Journeys from the east to destinations beyond Paddington, including towards Heathrow or Reading, will be possible by changing trains and waiting on the same platform at any central London Elizabeth line station for the next direct train.

The introduction of direct Elizabeth line services to central London from all destinations marks the opening of a vast range of extra benefits, including reduced journey times, additional capacity, greater accessibility, and better connectivity to jobs, opportunities, and leisure for communities across London and the South East. People landing at Heathrow Airport can now travel straight through central London on a direct train to areas such as Farringdon and Canary Wharf in as little as 36 and 45 minutes, respectively, at weekends and 40 and 51 minutes, respectively, during the week.

Customers will also be able to use the Elizabeth line seven days a week following the start of Sunday services through central London. The frequency of services in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel has increased from 12 trains per hour all day to up to 22 trains per hour in peak times and 16 trains per hour during off-peak. This increase will increase customers’ capacity to travel to central London, easing congestion across the network and making journeys quicker and easier. The full peak timetable, which will see 24 trains per hour during the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel, is on track to be in place by May 2023. 

The through running of services from the east and west sections into the central section of the Elizabeth line is a complex process and means that services in the central section will, for the first time, be fully intertwined with national rail infrastructure. TfL is working closely with Network Rail, Great Western Railway and other stakeholders to ensure the national rail sections are as reliable as possible to ensure that reliability and frequency in the central section remain high.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m delighted that from Sunday people will be able to benefit from fast and direct Elizabeth line services into central London, seven days a week. This development is a huge moment for the capital’s connectivity, revolutionising the way we travel across London, allowing people to travel from Stratford in the east of London to Paddington in the west of London in just 19 minutes and Ealing Broadway to Canary Wharf in just over 30 minutes.

“Services running on Sundays through central London will make thousands of journeys quicker, easier and more comfortable. Now services from outside London are connected with the stations in centre of the capital, people can be quickly transported on the Elizabeth line all the way through the city. This new stage of the Elizabeth line will bring a huge boost to our city – including encouraging people to make the most of the capital and will help support businesses in the heart of our city. I’m so proud of this transformational addition to our public transport network. The Elizabeth line is helping to build a better London – a fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all Londoners.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Today marks a landmark moment as passengers from across the South East can now benefit from more frequent services, longer operating hours and direct state-of-the-art Elizabeth line services seven days a week. Through our £9 billion investment, it’s great to have contributed to a line which in just five short months has shown itself to be a staple of London’s transport network delivering over 60 million journeys and creating over 55,000 jobs.”

Andy Lord, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “I’m delighted that, starting this weekend, customers from the capital and the South East will be able to take advantage of quicker and more accessible journeys using our transformational new railway. Linking destinations in the east and west directly with central London, alongside Sunday services and even higher frequency services, has been eagerly awaited.

“The new direct routes, which now include central London to Heathrow, will connect people jobs, homes, leisure and international travel and driving the city’s economic recovery. I’m really excited for customers to make use of the new, direct journey options and discovering new destinations, particularly with step-free access available at all 41 Elizabeth line stations opening up different parts of London to even more people.”

Dee Corsi, the interim ceo at New West End Company, said: “We are thrilled that the Elizabeth line’s through service is fully operational, ensuring a seamless journey for all visitors to London’s West End. Since the initial opening of the line and the opening of Bond Street station, we have seen a hugely positive impact on West End businesses. Looking ahead is predicted that the increased visitor numbers from the new lines will lead to around a seven per cent boost in the West End’s annual performance by 2031, influencing between £700m and £800m a year in additional sales, really bolstering the West End’s recovery in a challenging economic climate.

“Connecting Reading, Heathrow, and Shenfield to the heart of the capital will give our businesses the momentum that they need as we head towards the busy peak shopping months at the end of the year. With Christmas on the horizon, we are confident that this new service will help the influx of international and domestic tourists alike to make the most of all that this wonderful city has to offer.”

Bond Street’s Elizabeth line station opened on Monday, 24 October. It connects with Bond Street’s London Underground station linking the Elizabeth line with the Jubilee and Central lines. The new station is step-free from street to train with two lifts, further enhancing accessibility on the Elizabeth line and across the TfL network. Step-free access is now available at all 41 Elizabeth line stations. At stations outside of Paddington to Abbey Wood and Heathrow, manual boarding ramps and staff assistance may be required to board and alight trains. 

Customers can plan their journeys on the Elizabeth line using the TfL Go app and Journey Planner.



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