We're still not sure we actually believe that the Elizabeth line is finally opening next week, but it's now been officially added to the tube map. There is no going back.
The latest edition of TfL's official tube map is the first to have the Elizabeth line trailing across it in that purple we've all come to love. As well as showing the new line where it's not previously existed, between Paddington and Liverpool Street, the TfL Rail network is now rebadged as the Elizabeth line. TfL Rail will cease to exist once the new line is up and running.
At the moment, the Elizabeth line doesn't connect to Bond Street on the tube map, due to the delay in opening this station on the line. The Jubilee and Central lines still call at Bond Street as usual.
Why does the Elizabeth line look different from other tube lines on the map?
The sharp-eyed among you will notice that the Elizabeth line is shown differently from other lines on the map. While London Underground routes appear solid lines in their allotted colour, the Elizabeth line appears as a pair of parallel purple lines, similar to the double orange lines used for the London Overground and the turquoise ones used for the DLR.
The reason for this is simple — the Elizabeth line is considered a railway, not a tube line, so is depicted as such.
It's a bit... confusing
As we all know by now (right?) you'll need to change trains at Paddington and Liverpool Street to continue your Elizabeth line adventure out to the east or west. Those branches won't be hooked up seamlessly until later in the year. This has caused several cartographic headaches.
Just look at the Liverpool Street/Moorgate area, for example. We get what's going on here because we've been following this closely for a long time, but imagine you're new in town. Those two stations are represented by five separate blobs, in three different designs with routes splaying off in all directions. It's a mess, frankly. Things will get a bit simpler when the Liz line is fully hooked up, but the tube map continues its inexorable decline in clarity.
What else is new?
The Elizabeth line isn't the only change on the new map. The Barking Riverside extension of the London Overground makes a pre-appearance ahead of its planned launch towards the end of 2022.
Plus, you may notice the yellow and blue logo of a certain furniture retailer. IKEA is sponsoring the tube map for the next 12 months, part of which involves having its logo placed alongside the stations which are closest to its stores — that'd be Hammersmith, Ampere Way tram stop (for Croydon IKEA), North Greenwich, Neasden (for Wembley IKEA), and Tottenham Hale (for Edmonton IKEA). Who knows, if the sponsorship continues, your tube map might come as a pile of coloured lines next year, which you'll have to put together yourself.
The new tube map will be available on the TfL website when the Elizabeth line launches on Tuesday 24 May. Printed pocket maps will be available in stations too, with an artwork by London-based artist, Joy Labinjo. ‘Twist Out’ draws on her experiences as a British-Nigerian woman, as a mother is seen preparing her daughter’s hair for a ‘twist out’ hairstyle.
Citymapper also has an Elizabeth line journey planner up and running.
Get the full lowdown on the new line with our Elizabeth line user's guide.