Full disclosure: as a south-east Londoner, it’s hard not to be a fan of the Lizzy Line. We’re now connected in ways never thought possible to far-flung parts of the capital. Which is why the news from Transport for London that a year on from its grand unveiling, London’s newest line will be operating to its final, peak timetable from May 21 is so damn exciting.
You may not actually live that near the Lizzy Line, but if you regularly traverse the capital from Liverpool Street in the east out to Paddington in the west, then you’ll have no doubt enjoyed the benefits of the TfL service. And so we’re pretty gassed to see what the optimal timetable brings.
Firstly, trains will be more regular, so you’ll barely have time to admire the slick new stations before a train arrives. At peak times, 24 trains an hour will run between Paddington and Whitechapel, up from a mere 22 previously. Twenty will run at off-peak times, with direct services once an hour between Shenfield and Heathrow.
Travellers planning to catch the red-eye at London’s busiest airport can plump for an earlier start, as Paddington’s first westbound train for Heathrow will leave six minutes earlier at 4.36am and arrive at Terminal 5 ten minutes earlier at 4.42am.
Journey times will be quicker too, as Paddington currently requires east and westbound trains to make a scheduled stop of around ten minutes before proceeding while they wait to join Network Rail’s system or enter Elizabeth Line tunnels. While these are built into the existing timetable, these pauses will stop or become minimal in May 2023.
The Elizabeth Line now stretches all the way from Reading, in Berkshire, to Abbey Wood in south-east London and Shenfield in Essex. With 41 stations, and stretching out over 73 miles, it’s not surprising that the line has fast become a core part of London’s transport system, with more than 62 million passengers in the last quarter of 2022 – equivalent to one sixth of the UK’s total rail journeys.
Yes, sometimes the air conditioning is a bit too high, but because you can now get from Canary Wharf to Heathrow in nearly half the time, we’ll take it on the chin and wear a cardi.
You can find out more about Elizabeth Line services on TfL here.
Are TfL really planning to make Fridays cheaper on London Underground?