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November 2, 2022

Where does London’s Elizabeth line actually go?

The Elizabeth line, the newest addition to the London Underground system, has been in operation since May 2022. But is it fully complete?

By Silvia Pellegrino

In its current form, the Elizabeth line was first proposed in the 1980s, shelved in the 1990s, and finally approved in the 2000s. Over 10,000 workers have been hired to finish the 13-year project since construction first started in 2009 but that doesn’t mean it is finished.

Elizabeth Line
The Elizabeth line, or Crossrail, was created to reduce travel times across the UK capital. (Photo by Octus Photography/Shutterstock)

The Elizabeth line, according to TfL, “adds around 10% more capacity to central London’s rail network as well as an estimated £42bn to the UK economy”. (Lilac is the official colour of this line, which extends 73 miles through new tunnels under London through Shenfield and Reading.)

Where will the Elizabeth line connect?

The Elizabeth line has been operating on nine new core stations in the TfL network since it began service on 24 May 2022.

The stations the Elizabeth line runs through are:

• Abbey Wood
• Acton Main Line
• Bond Street
• Brentwood 
• Burnham
• Canary Wharf
• Chadwell Heath 
• Custom House
• Ealing Broadway
• Farringdon
• Forest Gate
• Gidea Park
• Goodmayes
• Hanwell
• Harold Wood
• Hayes & Harlington
• Ilford
• Iver 
• Langley
• Liverpool Street
• Maidenhead
• Manor Park
• Maryland
• Paddington
• Reading
• Romford
• Seven Kings
• Shenfield
• Slough
• Southall
• Taplow
• Twyford
• West Drayton
• West Ealing
• Whitechapel
• Woolwich

Paddington and Abbey Wood are connected by 12 trains per hour, or one every five minutes, from 6:30am to 11pm, Monday through Saturday. For the time being, Sundays are reserved for testing new trains and software upgrades.

The Elizabeth Line route will officially connect London to Reading and Heathrow starting on 6 November 2022. The newest TfL line has so far been running as three distinct railways throughout London: east, west and central.

The lines from Reading, Heathrow, and Shenfield will also connect with the central tunnels starting on 6 November.

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When will the Elizabeth line fully open?

That is the question. London’s Elizabeth line connects the city’s east and west. It has two western branches that come to an end, outside of the capital, in Reading and Heathrow Airport. Two eastern branches of the railway connect to Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in south-east London.

The Elizabeth line will begin preparing for its full opening in a few days on 6 November after its final non-operational Sunday past recently on 30 October:

  • Without making any changes along the way, one can go from Heathrow and Reading to Abbey Wood
  • One can access Paddington and Shenfield without changing at Liverpool Street

On 6 November, a revised timetable will also begin between Paddington and Whitechapel. Instead of the present 12 trains every hour during peak times, up to 22 trains will operate as a result.

TfL stated that the Elizabeth line’s various segments will be completely connected by May 2023, and services will operate according to the final timetable with 24 trains each hour between Paddington and Whitechapel.

Is Bond Street open on the Elizabeth line?

The last station in Central London on the Elizabeth line was opened on 24 October 2022, giving the chance to travel to the shopping district via the Elizabeth line instead of walking from Tottenham Court Road.

Five months after the Elizabeth line’s operations began, the station opened. Bond Street’s debut was delayed due to problems in the construction process, but now the new step-free station will “relieve congestion at Oxford Circus and make the area more accessible”, according to TfL.

[Read more: How Crossrail is affecting house prices in London’s suburbs and commuter towns]

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