The Elizabeth Line Is Entering Its Third And Final Phase Next Month

On May 24 last year, the long-awaited Elizabeth line made its grand arrival to the tracks of the London Underground, revamping the nature of travel into the city centre.

When it opened, we saw it in its first form, with parts of the track not linked together; but come the end of May 2023, the Elizabeth line will be operating in its final form—phase three is a go! The third time is, I believe they say, a ‘charm’?

Elizabeth line sign in the city of London
Image: Alexey Fedorenko, Shutterstock

TfL has confirmed that the third and final phase of the Elizabeth line will commence from May 21, which, aside from completing the landmark process of the long-awaited Crossrail in London, will mean a few new things.

What can passengers expect from phase three of the Elizabeth line?

Last year, the Elizabeth line made the leap from 12 to 22 trains per-hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during peak hours when it entered its second phase in November. Now, that number is seeing a further increase to 24 services into central London. 16 trains will also run per hour during off-peak times.

Currently making around 3.5 million journeys per week, the Elizabeth line trains are the busiest in the whole of the UK, even before the rate ramps up next month.

For the first time, passengers will also be able to travel directly across the line between Heathrow and Shenfield through the line’s east London and Essex lines. While phase two had opened up the opportunity to travel directly from Heathrow into central London in beyond, a change was still required to make it to Shenfield.

There will also be increased services at Reading station and Liverpool Street during peak hours, and an “auto-reverse” is set to come into place, whereby empty trains can drive themselves backwards from the Westbourne Park sidings to head back into service.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The introduction of the final timetable next month marks the last milestone of the Crossrail project and will enable the Elizabeth line to provide even more frequent, speedier journeys and better connect the capital.”

Phase three of the Elizabeth line begins on May 21.