Elizabeth Line

Elizabeth Line to open but with planned closures

Crossrail’s grand opening is mere days away at this point, with the scheduled date of 24th May rapidly approaching. This landmark day for London’s rail interconnectivity has been met with slight roadblocks however, due to the planned closures to operations to allow for continued construction work.

Passengers will be able to ride between Paddington, Woolwich and Abbey Wood from next Tuesday but will only be able to utilise these services between Monday and Saturdays due to Sunday closures during the first few months. These closures will allow engineers to spend Sundays connecting the new railway up to existing lines serving Reading and Sheffield.

Planned closures happen routinely across all TfL and National Rail lines in order to carry out essential maintenance to improve journeys. On outer parts of the Elizabeth line, currently operated as TfL Rail, there are numerous engineering works already planned. In addition to June 11, there are also closures on the new Paddington to Abbey Wood section on July 30 and October 29, which are also Saturdays.

Howard Smith, TfL’s Director of the Elizabeth line, said:

“The Elizabeth line is set to transform travel across London. It is the most advanced digital railway in the country and set to operate 24 trains per hour in the central section when fully operational. As announced earlier this month, we will not open on Sundays, except for The Jubilee weekend, in the short term so that we can use this time for testing and software updates in preparation for these more intensive services, but there have been three Saturdays identified where we need the full weekend to complete this work.

“By using Sundays and a handful of Saturdays, we have been able to bring forward the next phase of the Elizabeth line to this Autumn, thereby enabling a much earlier near doubling of train service through the central area and direct journeys from the east and west through the tunnel."

There are not expected to be any replacement buses as alternative routes such as the Central, Jubilee lines and DLR will also be available. On June 11, the District line is part-suspended and the Hammersmith & City line is entirely closed, adding to the disruption.

The Crossrail opening represents a major boost to the interconnected travel opportunities afforded to London residents, however the full range of services will not be available until the necessary construction works have been completed.


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