Crossrail: Top 22 facts about the Elizabeth line

·3 min read
London’s new £18.9 billion Elizabeth line railway opens on Tuesday (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
London’s new £18.9 billion Elizabeth line railway opens on Tuesday (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

The Elizabeth line has finally opened, after more than ten years and £19 billion spent on the project.

The new line–also known as Crossrail–will transform the daily commute for Londoners, slashing journey times between key underground stations, like Paddington and Canary Wharf.

Hundreds of people queued to take a trip on the line when it opened at 6.30am on Tuesday–from London workers to transport enthusiasts.

Here we’ve pulled together 22 top facts about the Elizabeth line.

Crossrail Project: Elizabeth Line - In pictures

Top facts about the Elizabeth line

  1. Originally known as the Crossrail, Boris Johnson officially renamed it the Elizabeth line in 2016, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.

  2. The line will run for more than 100km, from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through central London, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

  3. The Elizabeth line will use Class 345 trains, which are around 200 metres long–making them more than one and a half times longer than the current longest tube train.

  4. The seats are covered with a purple moquette fabric designed by design studio Wallace Sewell.

  5. The Elizabeth line will increase central London’s rail capacity–this is the largest single increase in more than 70 years.

  6. The Crossrail is estimated to have cost £19 billion–despite its original budget of £14.8 billion.

  7. Work on the Crossrail began in 2008–three London Mayors and four prime ministers ago.

  8. The control centre for the Crossrail is located near Romford Station–and the entire line can be run by a single signaller.

  9. It is expected that the Elizabeth line will serve 200 million passengers a year.

  10. Construction on the Crossrail began on May 15, 2009, after 35 years of planning.

  11. The Queen celebrated the Elizabeth line opening by visiting Paddington station last Tuesday. She unveiled a plaque that read: “Elizabeth Line. Officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen on Tuesday 17 May 2022 during Her Majesty’s The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”

  12. The Crossrail has helped office rents skyrocket–rents in Shoreditch and Clerkenwell have shot up 123% since the proposal to build Crossrail was given royal assent in 2008, while rents in Paddington have grown 45%.

  13. The new train line will bring in an estimated £42 billion to the UK economy.

  14. The single greatest reduction in journey times in central London will be between Abbey Wood and Tottenham Court Road–which is set to be slashed by 28 minutes.

  15. TfL says the Elizabeth line isn’t a tube line, because it goes across a large amount of the National rail network, using Great Eastern and Great Western infrastructure, and because the trains are much bigger.

  16. By May 2023, 24 trains will run every hour between Paddington and Whitechapel, at the busiest times.

  17. All Elizabeth Stations (except for Ilford) are step-free from street to platform. Network Rail intends to make Ilford accessible this summer.

  18. The London Transport museum has launched a range of Elizabeth line merchandise to celebrate the line opening.

  19. From launch day, more than 1 million Elizabeth line-themed Oyster cards will be dispensed from all stations opening on the line, as well as stops in Zone 1.

  20. A second Crossrail Line–dubbed Crossrail 2–has been proposed. The new line would run between north and south London, plus commuter areas in Surrey and Hertfordshire.

  21. The Elizabeth line will serve 41 stations–including 10 new stations.

  22. An east-west tube railway was first proposed in 1919, and again in 1943, while a similar line was considered after the Second World War. Parliament rejected plans for Crossrail in the 1990s, before the scheme was finally passed in 2008.

Elizabeth Line: Historic Whitechapel station entrance reopens

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