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Crossrail is coming, and with it, a whole new fleet of trains is coming to London. But what are the Crossrail trains actually like?
Design of the Crossrail trains
If you've heard anything at all about the new carriages, it was probably the controversial decision not to include toilets in the design. It's not likely to be a problem if you're just hopping across central London, but for anyone making the full 102 minute journey from Shenfield to Reading after too many pints on a night out... well...
Other than that, the trains are designed with 'Crossrail purple' livery. The exterior is white and lilac, and will eventually have an 'Elizabeth line' roundel on the outside of each carriage. Inside, purple also rules.
We spoke to design team Wallace Sewell about how they went about designing that oh-so-mauve moquette. Apparently, we nearly ended up with a rehash of the famous Barman moquette, until TfL decided that they wanted a whole new look for Crossrail, meaning the whole thing was designed in just four weeks, from final brief to deadline.
As for mod cons, they'll be fitted out with air con, wi-fi and 4G.
For train geeks who want the technical details, they're Class 345, and are being manufactured by Bomardier in Derby. If you've travelled in that direction by rail recently, you may have seen them — we got very exciting whizzing past a few of them in the sidings in Crewe.
How big are the new Crossrail trains?
Each train is 200 metres long — almost twice as long as a tube train — and designed to carry 1,500 passengers. Walkthrough carriages (like those on the London Overground) are present to provide even more space, and they're designed to be accessible, with dedicated wheelchair spaces.
How many new Crossrail trains are there?
As of March 2018, TfL has ordered 70 of the nine car Class 345 trains from Bombardier, at a total cost of about £73million.
When can I ride a Crossrail train?
You already can, although they're currently branded as 'TfL Rail', rather than 'Elizabeth line'. The very first Crossrail trains in public use were brought into service on the TfL Rail route between Liverpool Street and Shenfield in June 2017 (although there had been plenty of test runs before that, which delayed their introduction, originally due to be in May 2017). We were there for their long-awaited arrival:
This route will become Crossrail in December 2018.
Elsewhere, the purple trains arrived in west London in May 2018, when TfL Rail took over Heathrow Connect services between Paddington and Heathrow Airport. Again, Class 345 trains are up and running on the route — although there was some doubt for a while that they would be ready in time. They're currently only running as far Hayes & Harlington, with the old-style trains continuing the rest of the route. We'll let Geoff explain:
We've got more details on when the rest of Crossrail is due to open — although of course, it all depends on there being no further delays in testing the trains and signalling equipment.
More information on Crossrail
Here's a handy video we made as a quick guide to Crossrail, including where exactly under the streets of London the Crossrail platforms will be. Note that some of the details may have changed since the video was first published in March 2016:
- Everything you need to know about Crossrail
- What's the difference between Crossrail and the Elizabeth line?
- Is Crossrail going to obliterate the Heathrow Express?
- Why we're calling Crossrail the Lizard line.
- Did you know Crossrail already has a journey planner?
- The Elizabeth line map.
- Crossrail opens in 2018. We rode through it in 2014.
- How will Crossrail change London?
- Video: a drone flythough of Crossrail's tunnels.
- This is what Crossrail stations will look like.
- Other Elizabeths Crossrail could be named after.