The Elizabeth line is about to hit phase 3, meaning trains that are more frequent and faster — plus a new direct route.
London's £19 billion railway finally opened on 24 May 2022. Phase 1 saw the new stations in the central section of the line open (bar Bond Street, which was delayed). Phase 2 last autumn connected up services from Reading in the west and Shenfield in the east, with the central section. (Bond Street also opened, and Sunday services started running.)
Now phase 3 — arriving on Sunday 21 May 2023 — will see the Elizabeth line reach its full potential. That means:
- Peak time frequencies increasing from 22 to up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel (16 trains per hour off-peak).
- Frequency of 12 trains per hour running between Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood restored.
- Two trains an hour running directly between Shenfield and Heathrow Airport — no need to change trains.
- Reduced journey times between Reading and Paddington (since November 2022, some services have had to wait between stations, to join Network Rail tracks or enter Elizabeth line tunnels).
- More frequent services to and from Heathrow Airport; overall six Elizabeth trains will arrive and leave each hour, all day.
We asked Londonist readers last year if the Elizabeth line had changed their lives for the better. Your responses were mixed — from "100%" to "It doesn't go to anywhere I need to go".