Passengers hoping for a direct route into central London are waiting even longer, after Transport for London revealed that Elizabeth Line will initially be wasted in three sections.
The long-awaited Crossrail project is to link Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east with central London, but has been hit by delay after delay.
Elizabeth Line trains have been running from London Paddington to Reading Station since December 2019, when the city and four others were added to the London Underground map.
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But now Transport for London (TfL) has announced that Elizabeth Line services from Reading and Heathrow and also Shenfield in Essex will only connect to the central tunnels around 2023.
Managers at TfL have said they are on track to open the line between Paddington and Abbey Wood in the first half of 2022, but the other sections of the route will follow later.
The changes are intended to “deliver significant benefits to Elizabeth Line sooner than expected”.
The revised plans may see services from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood and Shenfield to Paddington open as early as the fall of 2022, with full end-to-end services scheduled by May 2023.
The plans mean that passengers traveling from stations on the existing TfL railways to the east and west, including Reading and Slough, will have to switch from one Elizabeth Line train to another from when the line opens in the middle of 2022 to May 2023.
When the train line opens in 2022, it will open in three expected routes:
1. Reading / Heathrow Airport to Paddington (existing main station)
2. Paddington (new Elizabeth Line station) to Liverpool Street (new Elizabeth Line station) to Abbey Wood
3. Liverpool Street (existing main station) to Shenfield
Test runs will take place on the line from November at the earliest, and this will be the last stage in the process before normal services can begin.
According to TfL’s travel planning, once the Elizabeth Line is up and running, it’s only 64 minutes to get from Reading Station to Whitechapel Station in central London.
When the Crossrail project started, the train line was originally scheduled to open in 2018, but this changed later to July 2022, and now TfL has said the project will be fully completed by May 2023.
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