Elizabeth lineTottenham Court Road station of the Elizabeth Line (Photo: TfL)

What the Grand Paris Express is for the capital of France, the Elizabeth Line is for the city of London

. In both cases, they are mega-projects of rail transport. In London, the Elizabeth Line is a small revolution for public transport. This project, which has swallowed up some 20 billion pounds, is a super-metro – like the RER – that crosses London over a hundred kilometers, including 42 kilometers of new tunnels. The line has 41 stations on an east-west axis.

The opening of this huge infrastructure has been delayed by more than three years. According to Crossrail Ltd, the operator in charge of the line, this is due to major difficulties concerning software, track signalling and equipment installation. The Covid crisis, which has brought the British economy to a standstill, will certainly also have played a role.

By June 30, 2022, the first phase of the line will finally be open to the public. During this phase, East London will benefit from the line as far as Paddington station. In the autumn, a second phase will be inaugurated to the west, notably to Heathrow airport

. (Photo: TfL)

Business travelers will then be able to get from the banking and insurance headquarters at Canary Wharf, the eastern extension of the City, to the airport in just 40 minutes. By 2023, Reading and Heathrow in the west will be connected to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via Paddington and Liverpool Street stations.

Stops at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road will provide access to the heart of London and connections to the rest of the Tube network.

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Among the innovations for passenger comfort, all 41 stations will be step-free to platform level. Trains will be quieter, more spacious with dedicated spaces for wheelchair users and luggage. Up to 24 trains per hour will run during rush hour on the central section.

No fare surcharges

As for fares, the public transport authority has (for once) good news for users. According to TfL (Transport for London), prices should be the same as for the rest of the transport network.

Admittedly, public transport fares in London are already among the most expensive in the world. And they have just increased by an average of 10 to 30 pence on a ticket since March… And the special off-peak fare has been abolished!