Published: 11:38, 04 May 2022
| Updated: 16:08, 04 May 2022
London's latest new transport line is almost ready to open.
The Elizabeth Line - named after Queen Elizabeth in her Jubilee year - will begin transporting its first passengers on May 24.
The new transport service, which is using the colour purple to distinguish it from London's other services, will see trains run every five minutes Monday to Saturday between Paddington and Abbey Wood.
Despite the costly project having been hit by extensive delays, Transport for London chiefs say the Elizabeth line will 'transform travel' across London and the south east by improving transport links, cutting journey times and providing additional space on services.
New stations and new walk-through trains are also preparing to come into service while the tube and rail maps are also now in the process of being updated to show the new stations and services and how it will connect with the rest of the network.
The Elizabeth line will operate 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood from Monday to Saturday between 6.30am and 11pm while work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.
However a special service will operate on Sunday, June 5 for the Platinum Jubilee weekend to help visitors to the capital, including hundreds expected to come from Kent, make their way in and out of London.
Services will run from approximately 8am until 10pm on this day.
All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be soon rebranded to the Elizabeth line and the line is initially running in three sections until the multi-billion project is fully up and running.
Customers travelling between Reading or Heathrow into London will need to change at Paddington for services into the central section of the route, and customers from Shenfield into London will need to change at Liverpool Street.
Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel.
Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which means that it will not open with the other stations on May 24.
All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from the first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance while step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich.
Andy Byford, Transport for London's Commissioner, said: "I am delighted that we can now announce a date for the opening of the Elizabeth line in May.
"We are using these final few weeks to continue to build up reliability on the railway and get the Elizabeth line ready to welcome customers. The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network."