LONDON (Reuters) -London's long-delayed Crossrail will open on May 24, Transport for London (TfL) said on Wednesday, with 12 trains per hour running through the middle section of the line linking Paddington in the west to Canary Wharf in the east.
The $24 billion rail project was originally due to be opened by Queen Elizabeth in December 2018, but had been repeatedly delayed by issues with safety testing and signalling systems, even before the onset of the pandemic.
Crossrail, which has been renamed the Elizabeth line, will connect destinations west of London, including Heathrow airport and Reading with Shenfield in the east. It will expand Central London's rail capacity by 10%.
It will operate as three separate railways until the autumn, however, when the central section will be connected to the two branches and services will increase to 22 trains an hour in the central section, TfL said.
Purple signage for the line has already started to be uncovered on the network, TfL said, adding an update to London's famous Tube map featuring the new line would be released later.
TfL Commissioner Andy Byford, said: "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."
(Reporting by Kate Holton and Paul Sandle; editing by William James)