Elizabeth Line opens: Londoners enjoy first day of service

All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train

All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train - Credit: William Mata

The Elizabeth Line’s director said he hopes the link will put Farringdon at the centre of London and better connect the east end. 

The first passengers boarded trains on Tuesday, May 24, on the line which connects Shenfield at its east with Reading at the west, while there is also a link to Heathrow Airport.

A new look Farringdon station is key to the line, which better connects the City of London with further out regions. 

Howard Smith, Elizabeth Line director

Howard Smith, Elizabeth Line director - Credit: William Mata

Trains were “absolutely on time” for the first morning and the only minor blip was a fire alarm going off for 15 minutes at Paddington. 

Howard Smith, director of the Elizabeth Line, told the Islington Gazette: “It has been absolutely amazing. 

“Hundreds of people were at Paddington at 6.30am this morning and actually cheered when the train went. It has been remarkable.”

Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich.

Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich. - Credit: William Mata

Stations are designed with the same spacious design and purple colour scheme with a digital information board system in advance of any other line. One aspect that wowed passengers was the lifts which run in a diagonal pattern alongside the escalators. 

Most Read

Mr Smith continued: “I think people have admired the truly iconic architecture. Railways are fundamentally about safety and reliability. But to also have this style is a real statement of ambition.”

Trains will run every five minutes between 06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday.

Trains will run every five minutes between 06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday. - Credit: William Mata

Sadiq Khan was one of the early passengers on the line and thousands of people have been reacting to their first journeys on social media. 

Construction started on the line in 2009 and it has cost £20billion to bring into use. 

The market for the Elizabeth Line has “fundamentally not changed”, according to Mr Smith, who expressed the need for it. 

All Elizabeth line stations will have a 'turn up and go' service offered to anyone needing assistance. 

All Elizabeth line stations will have a 'turn up and go' service offered to anyone needing assistance. - Credit: William Mata

“It connects the east end, the city, we will have running services to Heathrow Airport, the suburbs… Loads of people will be using it for work but the area that has come back strongest is the off peak and weekend market.” 

Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates .

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. - Credit: William Mata

As for Farringdon, Mr Smith added: “It moves to become almost the best connected place and we are talking about the opportunity it creates. There is north and south with Thameslink, east and west with us, and the tube line as well.

“It’s the centre of London.”