Elizabeth Line map: How the new Crossrail route will change London travel

·3-min read

Watch: Hundreds gather to be among first passengers on Elizabeth Line

The Elizabeth Line, London's newest railway, has finally opened after years of delays and a spiralling budget.

The project – also known as Crossrail – was approved in 2007, with an estimated budget of £15.9bn and plans to open in 2017.

The cost has since ballooned to around £18.9bn and the opening date was repeatedly pushed back, most recently due to the COVID pandemic.

But the wait is finally over, as the Elizabeth Line opened to the public on Tuesday, 24 May.

Here is everything you need to know about how it will impact your journey.

What is the Elizabeth Line route?

The new line runs from Reading and Heathrow Airport to Shenfield, Essex and Abbey Wood, south east London, via the centre of London.

Elizabeth line route. See story TRANSPORT Elizabeth. Infographic PA Graphics. An editable version of this graphic is available if required. Please contact graphics@pamediagroup.com.
Elizabeth Line map: The new route opened on 24 May. (PA Graphics)

However, you can't travel directly between those places yet.

The line is initially operating as three separate railways, with a change of trains required at Paddington and Liverpool Street.

The three sections are expected to be integrated in the autumn, although no date has been given.

Will Crossrail run seven days a week?

Not yet. Elizabeth Line services are initially running from Mondays to Saturdays, as further testing is taking place on Sundays.

The Sunday closures will be lifted on 5 June to help people travelling in the capital during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend.

The full 2022 route for the Elizabeth Line, according to the Crossrail website. (Crossrail)
The full 2022 route for the Elizabeth Line, according to the Crossrail website. (Crossrail)

How often do trains run?

At the moment, 12 trains an hour are running in the central London section between 6.30am and 11pm.

A full timetable of up to 24 trains per hour won't be in place until May 2023.

Once it is fully running, the line is expected to boost rail capacity in central London by 10%.

How much do fares cost?

Elizabeth Line journeys in central London cost the same as equivalent Tube fares.

Fares on services currently operated by TfL Rail are unchanged.

How long do journeys take?

Many journeys within the capital are quicker by the new line than by Tube.

According to travel app Citymapper, platform-to-platform journeys between Liverpool Street and Paddington have been cut from 18 minutes to 10 minutes.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) visits Paddington Station in London on May 17, 2022, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project, ahead of the opening of the new 'Elizabeth Line' rail service next week. (Photo by Andrew Matthews / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MATTHEWS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen formally opened the Elizabeth Line at Paddington station. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

How does it compare to the Central Line?

The Central Line is commonly used for east-west journeys across London, but these trains are often crowded and hot during the summer.

Elizabeth Line trains are more comfortable, boasting walk-through carriages and air-conditioning.

Which new stations have opened?

Nine new stations have opened at the following locations:

  • Paddington

  • Tottenham Court Road

  • Farringdon

  • Liverpool Street

  • Whitechapel

  • Canary Wharf

  • Custom House

  • Woolwich

  • Abbey Wood

A 10th station, Bond Street, won't be open until the end of 2022.

These spaces are lighter, brighter and larger than most Tube stations.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (centre) and Andy Byford, Commissioner at Transport for London (Tfl) (right) pose for photographers as they journey aboard the first Elizabeth line train to carry passengers as it approaches Tottenham Court Road Station, London. The delayed and overbudget line will boost capacity and cut journey times for east-west travel across the capital. Picture date: Tuesday May 24, 2022.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was among the first passengers to ride the Elizabeth Line. (PA Media)

Why is it called the Elizabeth Line?

The Elizabeth Line is named in honour of The Queen, who celebrates her Platinum Jubilee in June.

The monarch made a surprise appearance at Paddington station on 17 May to officially open the line.

What is Crossrail 2?

Crossrail 2 is a proposal to build another multibillion-pound railway in London, now that the Elizabeth Line is up and running.

Boris Johnson has backed plans for the line, which would run between Hertfordshire and Surrey, via tunnels under central London.

He said: "All the problems of commuters coming into Waterloo getting up to north London, you can fix that with another Crossrail."

But the prime minister said the capital's businesses would need to develop a plan to cover its estimated £33bn costs.