Crossrail – now known as the Elizabeth line – has finally opened to passengers, stretching 118km to connect Reading and Heathrow in the west through central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
Farringdon station by Aedas
The first Elizabeth line train left Abbey Wood station at 6:30am on 24 May, marking the official opening of the much delayed and over-budget extension to the London Tube system. Trains running every five minutes between 06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday stop at 41 now accessible stations, including ten new stations developed specifically for the project:
- Abbey Wood station by Fereday Pollard
- Custom House station by Allies & Morrison
- Liverpool Street station by WilkinsonEyre
- Whitechapel station by BDP
- Tottenham Court Road station by Hawkins\Brown
- Paddington station by Weston Williamson + Partners
- Farringdon station by Aedas
- Canary Wharf station by Foster + Partners and Adamson Associates
- Bond Street station by John McAslan + Partners (opening late 2022)
- Woolwich station by Weston Williamson + Partners
Left: Liverpool Street station by WilkinsonEyre. Photograph by Morley von Sternberg. Right: Bond Street station by John McAslan + Partners (expected to open later this year)
Initially known as Crossrail, the new £18.8 billion rail network was renamed the Elizabeth line after Queen Elizabeth II and is demarcated by a double purple line on the London Tube map. The double rather than solid line indicates that the service is a railway rather than London Underground line.
Left: Abbey Wood station by Fereday Pollard. Right: Whitechapel station by BDP
The Elizabeth line intersects the existing underground network at Paddington or Liverpool Street station, where passengers must interchange until direct services come into operation in May 2023. Work is currently being carried out on the line outside of operation hours to prepare for the full end-to-end running of the line.
Top: Canary Wharf station by Foster + Partners and Adamson Associates. Bottom: Woolwich station by Weston Williamson + Partners
The line is serviced by a fleet of 70 Class 345 trains built by Bombardier Transportation (now Alstom) in Derby, which will reach a top speed of 90mph for legs of the journey outside London. At 200 metres long, each train has a capacity for 1,500 passengers – far exceeding the capacity of current Tube trains.
Top left: Paddington station by Weston Williamson + Partners. Top right: Tottenham Court Road station by Hawkins\Brown. Bottom: Custom House station by Allies & Morrison
All Elizabeth line stations are now step free from street to platform – bar Ilford until summer 2022 – and will have WiFi and 4G connectivity from later this year.
Map Project Office, the industrial design agency founded by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, was tasked with designing the interiors of the new trains. The design features heavy use of the colour purple – a reference to the line’s regal namesake – from the graphics on the trains’ exteriors to the moquette upholstering the seats, which was designed by the textile studio Wallace Sewell.
The moquette upholstery for the Elizabeth line train seats was designed by textile studio Wallace Sewell