12:39PM, Wednesday 25 May 2022
Photo from Transport for London
It was a momentous day for transport on Tuesday as Crossrail officially opened for passenger service in central London.
The Elizabeth line welcomed its first commuters as it left Paddington station at 6.30am to Abbey Wood, following years of delays to the £18.9billion project.
Only the central London tunnels opened this week but customers in Maidenhead and Slough will be able to ride into the capital without changing trains by the autumn.
The full line – which will eventually stretch from Reading in the west to Shenfield in Essex – is not expected to open until May next year.
Thousands of passengers were welcomed on to the first service by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, London’s transport commissioner, Andy Byford, and Crossrail CEO, Mark Wild.
Excited commuters donned Union Jack clothing and Royal Family masks as they experienced the new line for the first time.
The Elizabeth line was named after the Queen, with the opening of the route coinciding with Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next weekend.
The monarch was also on hand to open the line at Paddington at a special ceremony earlier this month.
Shorter journey times from Paddington to central London stations have been revealed, with a journey to Tottenham Court Road taking just five minutes.
Meanwhile, travellers between Paddington and Abbey Wood will be on the train for just under half an hour, as opposed to an hour on the existing tube network.
A total of nine new stations have been created in central London for the Elizabeth line, with services every five minutes from 6.30am-11pm Monday to Saturday.
Maidenhead, Twyford, Taplow and Burnham are now officially on the Transport for London tube map, with all services between Reading to Paddington currently operating as TfL Rail being rebranded to the Elizabeth line.
Andy Byford, London's Transport Commissioner, said: “After years of hard work, I'm delighted that we are opening this transformational railway with an enormous contribution from TfL and industry colleagues who helped get the project open. I’m looking forward to welcoming our first customers with immense pride and excitement. This is a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK.”
Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), added: “The Elizabeth line really is an exceptional achievement for TfL, Government and the UK railway industry.
“It is a bold project that will not only transform how passengers travel across London, but it will also boost economic growth for the capital and the country as a whole.”
Want to find out more about what the Elizabeth line means for Maidenhead and Slough? Click here.
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.