Elizabeth Line: Queen opens Crossrail ahead of May 24 launch date - maps, stations and stops list

Queen formally opens Elizabeth Line at Paddington Station, May 17, 2022.
PA Images
Trains will initially run every five minutes on the Elizabeth Line, which was named for the Queen.

London's long-delayed Elizabeth Line project will finally open on Tuesday, 24 May, Transport for London has confirmed.

The new service, connecting Crossrail to London Underground and railway stations, will be closed on Sundays at first.

Services on the £19billion underground railway will initially operate six days a week - Monday to Saturday - and only between Paddington and Abbey Wood.

Crossrail was first conceived in the 1970s, but work on the project did not start until 2009.

The original budget of £14.8bn proved woefully optimistic and the scheme failed to meet its December 2018 opening date, forcing a formal launch ceremony performed by the Queen to be shelved.

The Queen on Tuesday (17 May) made a surprise appearance at Paddington Station to formally open Crossrail, in a special ceremony a week before the Elizabeth Line finally opens.

The Elizabeth Line will eventually run from Shenfield, Essex to Reading, Berkshire with another spur line to Heathrow Airport.

Tube maps already show which stops the Elizabeth Line will operate at, as the entire line opens in phases over the next year.

Map showing stops on the western stretch of the new Elizabeth Line Credit: TfL
Map showing stops on the eastern stretch of the new Elizabeth Line Credit: TfL

When will the Elizabeth Line open?

The Elizabeth Line will open on 24 May, 2022, in the the week before the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend celebrations.

The line is named in honour of her Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. and will open just eight days before the event, which runs from Friday 3 June 3 - Monday 6 June.

It is estimated around 200million passengers will travel on the new line each year.

Through trains serving all destinations were due to be phased in over a period of 12 months after the initial opening.

What times will Crossrail trains run?

From 24 May on the central section will run every five minutes between 6.30am and 11pm.

Sunday closures will continue until the Autumn to allow engineering and software upgrades, but a special Sunday service will operate on June 5th for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

An Elizabeth Line train is driven from Paddington to Canary Wharf Station

What Tube and railway stations will the Elizabeth Line stop at?

The Elizabeth Line is not technically a London Underground service, but it is included on Underground maps.

Tube maps already show the new links connecting the line to railways and new and existing stations across the capital, featuring the Elizabeth Mark's purple livery.

Services currently running as TfL Rail will be rebranded to the new Elizabeth line as the new central section opens, adding nine new stations to the TfL network - with Bond Street opening later in 2022.

When fully open, Crossrail will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

The route will use 42km of new tunnels beneath central London.

Crossrail will serve 41 stations including 10 new stations at:

  • Paddington

  • Bond Street

  • Tottenham Court Road

  • Farringdon

  • Liverpool Street

  • Whitechapel

  • Canary Wharf

  • Custom House

  • Woolwich

  • Abbey Wood

What is the timeline of the entire Crossrail opening, and where do I change?TfL's timeline explains in full how the Elizabeth Line will open in phases - as passengers are warned they will initially need to take into account changes on some journeys.

The line will operate in London as three separate railways: in the east, west and through central.

Until it is fully open and connected, passengers will need to change to get between sections of the network.

  • Passengers between Shenfield and the central section of the route will need to change trains at Liverpool Street, walking to or from the new Elizabeth line Liverpool Street station.

  • Passengers between Reading or Heathrow and the central section will need to change trains at Paddington, walking to or from the new Paddington Elizabeth line station.

  • At Paddington and Abbey Wood only, no changes are needed.

From Autumn 2022, the Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield lines will connect with the central ones, meaning you can travel east all the way to Abbey Wood without changing at Paddington.Also from Autumn, passengers will be able to travel west from Shenfield all the way to Paddington without changing at Liverpool Street.

By May 2023, the separate sections of the Elizabeth Line will be fully connected and runmn to the full and final timetable.

A tube map showing the Elizabeth Line in purple. Credit: Transport for London

How do I pay to travel on the Elizabeth Line?

Customers can pay fares as they would on the TfL network - such as Oyster, travelcards, contactless.

The only exception is trains travelling west of West Drayton, where passengers will need to use a contactless card or buy a paper ticket.

How much will the Elizabeth Line cut journey times?

It is estimated that the line will cut journeys to less than an hour for a significant number of commuters.

An extra 1.5 million people will live within a 45 commute of major areas of employment such as the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.

Will the Elizabeth Line stations have step-free access?

All Elizabeth line stations will have step-free access from street level to platforms and new stations from Abbey Wood to Paddington will be step-free from street to train.

Why is the Elizabeth Line already on Citymapper?

The popular journey planning app used by millions of Londoners to get around the capital has already added the line to its service.

The app is allowing users to plan their journeys with the Elizabeth Line ahead of the Phase 1 opening, calling it a ‘transport time machine.’

Citymapper app has been updated to show the Elizabeth Line is opening soon Credit: Citymapper

The Citymapper function allows passengers to look at how the line will change their travel and commuting times, even before it opens.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said as the date was announced: "I’m delighted that our world-class new Elizabeth line will be opening to passengers later this month, helping build a better London - one which is safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all Londoners.

"This is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades, and will revolutionise travel across the capital and the south east – as well as delivering a £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy and hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs."