From Tuesday 24 May 2022, the long-awaited Elizabeth Line will be open to the public.
Michelangelo took just five years to paint the 343 figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It took two years for Gustave Eiffel to build the Eiffel Tower. Even the Channel Tunnel took a mere five years to construct.
Thirteen years later, the Elizabeth Line is finally here. Tuesday 24 May is the official opening of this line that will connect Reading and Essex, to central London.
The construction of the Crossrail began at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009, with the beginning of the tunnel’s manufacture beginning in May 2012. The £18.8bn project was meant to start running in December 2019. But ballooning costs delayed its opening.
Once open, TFL announced that travel times between Liverpool Street and Woolwich will be halved to just 15 minutes. It will stop at 41 accessible stations – ten of those being brand sparkly new – and will serve 200 million London commuters each year. It aims to boost the UK economy by £42 billion.
One of the stations on the highly awaited Elizabeth Line is Whitechapel, which has had its very own makeover. The new station opened in December 2021, and has been upgraded with huge, wide-open spaces that have an almost futuristic feel. The station also has one of the first dual language signs in the TFL network, with Tower Hamlets funding a Bengali language sign.
In addition, a new green, sedum roof has been added to the main station. It hopes to deliver an aesthetic benefit, whilst reducing the heat build up in the station and improving air quality. From Tuesday 24 May, it will home the new Elizabeth Line, and provide a visibly beautiful backdrop to traveling in and out of Whitechapel.
Commuters from the East will be able to travel between Stratford and Bond Street in just 15 minutes, or Romford to Liverpool Street in 27 minutes. Holiday goers will no longer have to drag suitcases around the tube, changing at Earls Court. The Elizabeth Line can get you from Whitechapel to Heathrow in just one hour, direct.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who is also chair of TFL, announced that the Elizabeth Line would make London ‘Safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous’. The new line will include more standing room, air-conditioning, and a mixture of seating types.
On top of this, the Elizabeth Line will also be TFL’s most accessible line yet, with step-free access at every stop and four dedicated wheelchair spaces for wheelchairs, buggies, luggage and bikes.
Here’s what you need to know before it’s opening: From Tuesday 24 May, twelve trains will run every hour, with five minute intervals. It will begin as three separate railways, in East, West and Central London.
But by May 2023 The Elizabeth Line will be fully functional, with 24 hour trains running even through the busiest times between Paddington and Whitechapel.
The announcement has produced some mixed reviews from the public. William Wyld tweeted: ‘Give us back our buses’, in reference to the halving of buses between Greenwich and Woolwich.
Other Londoners are concerned about the effect the new line will have on the technical front. Daniel Son tweeted: ‘So I’m guessing from the 24th May onwards they’ll be the usual signal failures! Delays! Train Cancellations!’.
For others, the opening couldn’t come quick enough. Steven Alan Hill tweeted: ‘About time Crossrail Elizabeth line open it’s been a very long time’.
David Hicks tweeted Mayor Sadiq Khan himself, saying: ‘Well done on finally opening the Elizabeth Line. #progress’.
After thirteen years, The Elizabeth Line is finally here. Thanks to the £9bn of Government support, it hopes to make traveling in and around London cleaner, quicker and more accessible for all.
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