First trains run on linked-up Elizabeth Line

Image above: an Elizabeth Line sign

Eastbound trains from Heathrow now directly to Liverpool Street

The first trains have started running on the linked-up sections of the Elizabeth Line, with trains now running direct between Canary Wharf, the Square Mile and Heathrow airport.

From Sunday (6 November), services from Reading and Heathrow in the west will no longer terminate at Paddington and instead run through the new tunnels under central London to Liverpool Street, and vice versa.

Similarly, services from Shenfield and other stations east of London will no longer terminate at Liverpool Street but will continue in tunnels to Paddington.

The link-up comes just a week after the opening of Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which marked the completion of the last new station on the new railway.

Services from the line’s south-eastern branch at Abbey Wood will be able to run directly to Heathrow or Reading, rather than terminating at Paddington.

Speaking outside Paddington Station on Sunday, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the link-up was ‘fantastic news’ which benefits not just London but the south of England as a whole.

Image above: Tweet from TfL

One stage remaining until line is open fully

The November 6 changes also sees the line now operating seven days a week. Since its opening on May 24, two-and-a-half years late and £4bn over budget, there has been no regular Sunday service.

There have been more than 27 million journeys on the central section, and more than 54 million journeys in total.

Heathrow tickets will cost £10.80 off-peak and £11.50 at peak time – up to £7.30 more than the same journey on the Tube but less than half the price of the £25 Heathrow Express service.

TfL said the final timetable across the entire railway will be in place no later than May 2023. The service in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel will increase to up to 24 trains per hour during the peak and 20 trains per hour off-peak. At this point, direct services will be introduced from Shenfield to Heathrow Airport.

Image above: Sadiq Khan (right) with TfL Commissioner Andy Byford (left)

Mayor praises Elizabeth Line as “huge, huge success”

Sadiq Khan called Elizabeth Line “a huge, huge success” but also urged the Government to invest more in London infrastructure, including projects like Crossrail 2, which has been halted indefinitely.

“I think what the Elizabeth line shows is that if you invest, people will use,” he told PA, adding that 60 million journeys have been made on the railway since it opened in May.

“That shows the difference good public transport can make but the really great news is that we as a global city have a new piece of infrastructure – but we can’t stand still because when I speak to colleagues in Singapore, in Hong Kong, in Paris, New York, they are investing in infrastructure.

“So my message to the Government is if you invest in London the whole country benefits.”

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See also: District Line shut and Chiswick High Rd flooded by torrential rain

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