Published on: Friday, 20 May 2022
Last updated: Thursday, 3 November 2022
It’s very exciting, after years of engineering works at weekends affecting our journeys from East Anglia into London, the Elizabeth line (formerly known as Crossrail) is opening on Tuesday 24 May – and we’re sure you’ll agree it is well worth the wait and all those rail replacement bus journeys. The Elizabeth line, once fully opened and connected later this year, is going to completely transform travel across London for those of us in the East – and even phase one is going to make a big difference to travelling into central London.
So what’s so good about what’s opening on 24 May?
The first stage will connect Abbey Wood, in South East London, to Paddington, via London Liverpool Street, speeding up journey times between East Anglia and South East London. All existing TfL stations from Shenfield to Liverpool Street and from Reading/Heathrow Airport to Paddington will be rebranded as Elizabeth line.
The missing link is the central tunnels connecting to the East and West, so from 24 May, passengers will need to change at either Liverpool Street or Paddington to continue their journey. But even without the central tunnels, the Elizabeth line will make a positive difference to those of us connecting to it from Greater Anglia trains.
For instance, we can change at Liverpool Street onto the Elizabeth line to get to Paddington in just 11 minutes compared to the current journey time of over 30 minutes on the Circle or Hammersmith and City lines, with just four stops compared to nine. If you’re not a fan of the busy Central line, you can catch the Elizabeth line from Liverpool Street to Tottenham Court Road. It’s just two stops and will only take 6 minutes compared to five stops on the Central Line and is perfect for shopping in Oxford Street.
At first there will be 12 trains an hour from 6am to 11pm Monday to Saturday with no services on Sundays.
I use a wheelchair, will it be easy for me to travel on the Elizabeth line?
The Elizabeth line makes it much easier to travel into central London and beyond if you use a wheelchair.
Every single station on the Elizabeth line is accessible and they are staffed for the whole time it is open, so you can just turn and go with assistance on hand to help you board. There are spaces for wheelchairs on the train, with the fifth carriage featuring dedicated spaces; but as with all TfL trains there are no toilets on board – however there are toilets at the majority of stations.
Network Rail work continues to install new lifts at Ilford statin for step-free access.
When will it be fully open and what will be so good about that for Greater Anglia customers?
Bond Street – the only Elizabeth line station not opening on 24 May – will open in later in 2022 and the central tunnels fully connecting to the East and West are due to open from the autumn. Then the full benefits of the Elizabeth line will really kick in. Train frequency will jump to 22 trains an hour in the autumn and then 24 trains an hour by the end of 2022, which is a train every two-and-a-half-minutes. The Greater Anglia network will connect with the Elizabeth line at Shenfield, Romford, Stratford and London Liverpool Street, and with just one change from the Greater Anglia network onto the Elizabeth line we’ll be able to travel all the way to either Heathrow or Reading with a journey time of just over half an hour from Liverpool Street to Heathrow. Or you could change at one of our Elizabeth line interchange stations - such as Shenfield - for central London, with direct trains to Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.
Will I be able to use my Greater Anglia ticket on the Elizabeth line?
Just as with other TfL services you’ll need a ticket to ride the Elizabeth line. You can either touch in with your Oyster Card or contactless card or you can buy a through ticket either online, on the Greater Anglia app or from a ticket machine or ticket office.