The Elizabeth line is getting £140 million to fix issues and delays

When the Elizabeth line came on the scene in May 2022 it held so much promise. It had airline-esque seats, air conditioning and even a swanky new moquette. Things started to go pear-shaped for Lizzie when some parts of the line weren’t ready in time; then she was cancelling services left right and centre and became the UK’s worst train line for cancellations.

Over the past six months, things have gotten even patchier. There have been chronic track failures on the Paddington to Reading stretch of the route, including one incident in December when more than 3,000 passengers were stranded on Elizabeth line, Heathrow Express and GWR trains for several hours at night when overhead wires fell and power to the tracks was cut. Now, Network Rail has promised it’s going to do something about the floundering purple line. Thank goodness. 

Network Rail has said it will ‘accelerate’ a £140 million improvement plan for the Elizabeth line. But this means passengers on the Lizzie line will face a month of cancelled early-morning and late-night trains while the work is underway. 

From Sunday, there will be no Elizabeth line trains west of Paddington before 7.40am, and services will terminate at the mainline station – meaning no through running to and from central London.

A number of the stations between Paddington and Maidenhead will also be reduced to only two trains an hour, and there will be fewer services from around 10pm.

Between Monday and Thursday until March 28 there will be a reduced Elizabeth line service from Paddington from 9.30pm, with four trains an hour to Heathrow Airport and two to Reading.

According to Network Rail, it could be more than 18 months before the service returns to a ‘good’ level, so Londoners will have to keep patient. 

‘We haven’t been performing well enough and we are sorry for that. We’re letting people down and it’s awful to be in a position where we’re doing that,’ said Marcus Jones, Network Rail’s route director. 

After meeting with Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines on February 26 London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘I have been absolutely clear with Network Rail, MTR and TfL that the issues we have seen over the last six months are not acceptable. I am pleased that they have brought forward a comprehensive plan to resolve the problems on the line, and I will continue to hold them to account.’

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