Since May 24 this year, the long-awaited Elizabeth line has been carrying Londoners in their glossy, speedy and, crucially, air-conditioned carriages.
Now that the 40-degree heatwaves look to be behind us in 2022, the line has added another string to its bow, and announced that, this winter, its routes into central London are expanding.
From November 6, passengers travelling from Heathrow and Reading will no longer need to change trains when heading into central London, with routes going directly to Abbey Wood. That also means you could hop on a train from the airport and reach your favourite east London bar, beyond the central zones, without moving a muscle.
Phase 2 of the line’s opening will also mean more frequent trains, a seamless route between Shenfield and Paddington, and the opening of Bond Street on the line’s most central zone. The expansion hopes to deliver a wide range of new benefits to using the line, including greater accessibility, reduced hours travelling, and greater connectivity to both work and social activities.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The opening of the new Elizabeth line has been a landmark moment, not just for London but for the entire country, helping to contribute £42bn to the national economy.
“It’s great news that from November, Elizabeth line trains will run directly from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood, and from Shenfield to Paddington, seven days a week. Services running on Sundays through central London will also make thousands more journeys quicker, easier and more comfortable.
“This enhanced capacity on the Elizabeth line will play a crucial role in encouraging people to make the most of the capital and will help support businesses in the heart of our city.”
When does the Elizabeth line expand?
Phase 2 of the line’s opening is pencilled in for November 6, 2022. There are further plans to make the entire line seamless in the third phase, which is set to happen in May 2023.
Where will the Elizabeth line go when it expands?
Phase 2 of the line’s expansion will mean that passengers from Reading and Heathrow can travel to central London and further beyond – into east London – to Abbey Wood from November 6. Travellers from Shenfield will also be able to travel straight into Paddington using the Elizabeth line from the same date.
When will Bond Street open on the Elizabeth line?
Bond Street is due to open in the central branch of the line from November 6, as part of the phase 2 expansion.
How long does it take to get from Heathrow Airport to central London?
Under the new expansion, you’ll be able to reach Farringdon from Heathrow (or vice versa) in as little as 36 minutes on weekdays and 45 minutes on the weekend. If you’re looking to go further, it’s only 40 minutes to Canary Wharf on weekdays and 51 minutes at the weekend.
How often do the trains run?
Trains between Paddington and Whitechapel will increase from 12 per hour to 22 per hour at peak times, and 16 during off-peak hours, under the new expansion. From May 2023, this number is expected to hit 24 per hour during peak hours.
Opening hours are also extending on September 5, with trains running from 5:30am to around 11pm between Paddington and Abbey Wood.