Transport for London (TfL) has today confirmed that, subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open on Tuesday, 24 May folliowing lengthy delays.
It aims to transform travel across 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 Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.
Andy Byford, Transport for London's Commissioner, said: "I am delighted that we can now announce a date for the opening of the Elizabeth line in May. We are using these final few weeks to continue to build up reliability on the railway and get the Elizabeth line ready to welcome customers. The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network."
TfL says the new line will be crucial to London's recovery from the pandemic, helping avoid a car-led recovery by providing new journey options, supporting regeneration across the capital, and adding an estimated £42bn to the UK economy.
It will operate 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood from Monday to Saturday 06:30 to 23:00. Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.
All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line. Customers travelling between Reading or Heathrow into London will need to change at Paddington for services into the central section of the route, and customers from Shenfield into London will need to change at Liverpool Street. Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel.
Customers will be able to plan their journeys on the Elizabeth line using the TfL Go app and Journey Planner ahead of the railway opening. The new railway will connect stations such as Paddington to Canary Wharf in only 17 minutes, transforming how Londoners and visitors navigate the capital. This journey currently takes more than 30 minutes to complete using the Tube.