London Underground train at a station

Full Crossrail timetable not expected to be in operation until 2023

The Public Accounts Committee has been told that a full, operational Crossrail timetable is not predicted to be in effect until May 2023, a full year after the planned opening of the central core.

Originally, the new Elizabeth line had been due to open in December 2018, but faced delays and additional costs which have pushed back the project’s opening date.

The first section between Abbey Wood and Paddington is expected to open in the first half of 2022, between February and June.

Once fully opened, Crossrail will provide much-needed additional capacity in the centre of London, as well as connecting the capital with Reading and Shenfield, in Essex, on the respective ends of the route.

The committee was informed that the route would be mostly operational by autumn 2022, but a full, complete timetable not in operations until the following summer.

Matthew Lodge, Director of Rail Infrastructure South at the Department of Transport, was quoted as saying: “If you’re asking me about the full absolute final Crossrail timetable, my prediction would be May 2023.

“But you will have some of the significant benefits that Crossrail will deliver from some time after the opening of the central core in the first half of 2022.”

Government increased the Crossrail budget to £18.8bn in December 2020, up from an original budget of £14.8bn outlined in 2010 for the route between Reading and Abbey Wood.

This Reading-Abbey Wood route is intended to be open for passenger by the autumn 2022 date, according to Crossrail CEO Mark Wild, but he said he could not guarantee passengers coming into central London from the east of the capital would not have to change trains.

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