Elizabeth line Class 345 Aventra

While the cross-city Crossrail tunnels opened in May, prior to November 6 Elizabeth Line services from Reading and Heathrow Airport had terminated in the main line station at London Paddington.

UK: Elizabeth Line passenger services began running through onto existing Network Rail routes east and west of central London on November 6 as the Crossrail Programme nears completion.

Trains from Reading and Heathrow Airport can now run through to Abbey Wood via central London using a connection from the Great Western Main Line’s Relief lines west of Paddington station. In the east, services from Shenfield are now using a tunnel portal at Pudding Mill Lane west of Stratford to reach Whitechapel, where there is a deep-level junction with the branch from Abbey Wood. For now, services from Shenfield will turn back at Paddington.

gb-TfL Elizabeth Line map November 6 services

The Elizabeth Line had been operated in three sections since the opening of the cross-London tunnels on May 24, with trains from Heathrow and Reading terminating at Paddington’s main line platforms, cross-London trains running east from Paddington’s Elizabeth Line platforms to Abbey Wood, and trains from Shenfield terminating at Liverpool Street station’s main line platforms.

‘Complex’ and ‘intertwined’

The changes from November 6 mean the frequency of services in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel has increased from 12 trains/h to up to 22 trains/h in the peaks and 16 trains/h off-peak.

Transport for London says that a ‘small number’ of services will not run into the tunnels and so some passengers may still need to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street main line stations.

TfL says that the through running of services from the east and west sections into the central section of the line ‘is a complex process’ because Elizabeth Line trains will now ‘be fully intertwined with national rail infrastructure’. TfL is ‘working closely with Network Rail, Great Western Railway and other stakeholders’ to ensure the main line routes are as reliable as possible to provide resilience and reliability for the cross-city core.

The final timetable with a peak service of 24 trains/h on the core section is expected to be in place ‘by May 2023’.