Since opening, the central section of the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood has seen more than one million journeys. Across the whole line, which stretches from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, more than two million journeys have been made since Tuesday.
Businesses across the line have also welcomed the arrival of the Elizabeth line, and for many, the new railway marks an exciting new chapter in the capital. The Elizabeth line connects areas including world-leading financial centres in the Square Mile, and Canary Wharf, to key business and events hubs in the east including the Royal Docks, as well as London’s cultural and creative heart in the West End.
The railway received an incredible reception from Londoners and transport enthusiasts from around the world. In just five days more than a million customers used the Elizabeth line, taking advantage of the seamless journeys through the heart of London on the new central section. The Elizabeth line is a historic, once-in-a-generation addition to London’s transport network that will not only change how people travel in London but will support the creation of new jobs and economic growth throughout the country.
The railway has opened up new journey options, is supporting jobs and generating a huge economic boost, not only for London but for the whole country. The increase in central London’s rail capacity of 10 per cent is the largest single increase in decades and will support the capital’s regeneration and recovery from the pandemic. The new railway has cut journey times between Abbey Wood and Paddington by almost half, to approximately 29 minutes. Trips between Farringdon and Canary Wharf will now take around 10 minutes, instead of 24.
The London Transport Museum has launched a range of Elizabeth line merchandise to celebrate the line opening. The new Elizabeth line Moquette range features accessories like face coverings, socks, and bags, as well as furniture items including sofas and armchairs. Customers keen on celebrating the opening of the railway in style quickly snapped up the Elizabeth line merchandise on sale at London Transport Museum’s pop-up shop at Paddington station on opening day, with some ranges selling out within hours of the first train. The full range of items can be purchased from the museum’s shop in Covent Garden, or online. Brand new Elizabeth line merchandise, including mugs and limited edition t-shirts, will be on sale in the summer.
Railway enthusiasts have also been rapidly purchasing limited edition Oyster cards. The cards are currently being dispensed from machines at all stations opening on the line as well as stops in Zone 1.
Although Elizabeth line services will not run on Sundays until later this year, there will be a Sunday service across the route on Sunday 5 June between Paddington and Abbey Wood from approximately 08.00 to 22.00 for those out celebrating the Platinum Jubilee.
Howard Smith, TfL’s director of the Elizabeth line, said: “It has been fantastic to see the Elizabeth line receive such a great reception. Customers have been flocking to the railway in the hundreds of thousands each day since opening to marvel at our beautiful new stations but also to experience drastically shorter journey times. It is already having a transformative impact on local businesses and opening up access to new areas of London.”
Laura Citron, CEO London & Partners said: “The Elizabeth line fundamentally changes London’s economic geography. As a global megacity, London is home to districts which are world-class destinations in their own right – the West End for shopping and entertainment; the City and Canary Wharf for financial and professional services; Royal Docks for huge events; and Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for sports and culture. The new Elizabeth line connects these exceptional places with each other, with 1.5 million people, and with the world via Heathrow Airport. We know that London’s growth has been driven by the breadth of our offer – commerce, culture, and government all in one place – and now, all on one green, accessible, and very beautiful train line.”
Charlotte Hogg, chief executive officer, Visa Europe said: “The Elizabeth line is a welcome addition to London’s transport system, and is already having a positive effect on both commuting time and experience for many of our London based staff.”
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. Businesses from right around the UK have benefited from work connected to the Elizabeth line.
Throughout its construction, the railway has had an extensive supply chain which has supported businesses of all sizes, and jobs and skills creation across the whole country. The Class 345 trains running on the Elizabeth line were built in Derby, roundels and signage for the line were supplied by a family-run business on the Isle of Wight, and a company based in Leeds strengthened and protected London’s Victorian sewer networks during construction.
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