Journeys across London will be transformed in 2018 when the Elizabeth Line partially opens. Trains on the £15 billion rail line will depart for the first time in December and stop at 10 new stations.
When complete 12 months later, customers from Reading and Heathrow in the west will be able to travel all the way through central London - including entertainment hot spots in the West End and workplaces in the City - onto east London and Essex. A journey from Paddington to Canary Wharf will take just 17 minutes - shaving around 10 minutes off a journey that would normally include a change of service.
Commuting in London.
From December 2018, the line will initially operate as three services:
- Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via central London
- Paddington (mainline station) to Heathrow (Terminals 2 & 3 and 4)
- Liverpool Street (mainline station) to Shenfield
Building a London for the future.
From December 2019, it is estimated more than 200 million passengers will travel on the line, which is being built by Crossrail, every year and capacity in central London will increase by 10%. The line will bring an extra 1.5 million people within 45 minutes commuting distance of London's key employment districts and connect London's two financial hubs in the City and Canary Wharf.
Once operational, the line will be handed over to Transport for London to run and add a purple route on London's famous Underground map. The project created thousands of new jobs in and around the capital and is expected to add £42 billion to the UK economy.
Air conditioned carriages.
In welcome news to Londoners - especially during the sticky summer months - Elizabeth Line trains will be longer walk-through models, air-conditioned and have free Wi-Fi. All 41 stations will be step-free from street to platform, in addition to the Mayor's target for 40% of the London Underground network to be step-free by 2022.
Employment and apprenticeship boost.
Since construction started in 2009, more than 15,000 men and women have worked on the project and more than 1,000 apprenticeships have also been created, surpassing the original target of 400.
It is predicted that the Elizabeth line will create more than 60,000 jobs in the City of London and Isle of Dogs, which is where Canary Wharf is. With almost 1.4 million square metres of office space under construction that has the potential to accommodate 75,000 workers, boosting transport infrastructure was seen as a necessity.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "It's truly exciting that in only a year London will see the opening of one of the biggest new transport projects in a generation. The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London and the South East, with new state-of-the-art trains transporting millions of people quickly across London, providing a huge boost to the economy.