Elizabeth Line Trains

Above: The new train, standing at Platform 15 of Liverpool Street Station, bound for Shenfield.

There is a rail service from Liverpool Street Station to Shenfield – which is being run by TFL with trains every 10 minutes. The trains leave from the high-number platforms at Liverpool Street Station. Until 2017 the trains were made up from carriages that have run on the line for years. Since 22 June 2017 one train each day, leaving about 10.30 am, is now a shiny new Crossrail train. It is made up of seven carriages and is 160 metres long. The eventual Elizabeth Line trains will have nine carriages and be 200 metres long. Unlike most railway carriages, which have two doors on each side. these new carriages have three doors each side.

By autumn 2017 it is expected that 11 new trains that will serve the Elizabeth Line will be rolled out on the route. The total fleet of trains – when the whole project is up and running – will be 66. The trains will travel through 42 km of tunnels under London and are expected to carry 200 million passengers each year.

Above: The new train at an existing platform at Stratford Station.

The £14.8bn Crossrail project, which began in 2009, does not officially open until December 2018 and building work is still being carried out. Most of that vast sum of money has been spent on tunnelling, building the new stations in those tunnels and creating new railway tracks which will link up with Reading and Heathrow Airport stations, in the west, and with Shenfield and Abbey Wood stations, in the east.

Although the new Elizabeth Line trains are running from Liverpool Street Station, via Stratford, on the old line to Shenfield, that is only a temporary measure. When everything for the new line under Central London is completed, trains will run via the new Elizabeth Line station at Liverpool Street, which happens to be the deepest of all the newly-built stations (which, in Central London, are Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel).

The rail route from the new Elizabeth Line station at Liverpool Street will run underground to the new Whitechapel Station (also deep underground). East of that station is a fork in the new railway lines. Trains bound for Shenfield will continue underground for another mile or so before emerging into the daylight to stop at one of the platforms of Stratford Station. Trains will continue their journey to Shenfield, via Romford, using the original track and stations. The southern part of the fork will convey the new trains via a new station at Canary Wharf (deep underground), a new station at Custom House (at surface level), a new station at Woolwich (deep underground) and a terminus beside the existing station at Abbey Wood (also at surface level).

Above: The new train on its way to Shenfield, having left Stratford Station.

Ever since February 2017, a new Elizabeth Line train has been driven to the existing Liverpool Street Station, stopping beside various platforms, while engineers carry out checks on the train. It has also provided driver training. The interest in the top picture is therefore that the new Elizabeth Line train is standing beside an old platform at the original Liverpool Street Station. By the end of 2018, these new trains will use the new platforms, deep underground, at the new Liverpool Street Station. It will not be until December 2019 that the entire route – from Reading to Shenfield – will be fully operational, crossing the capital and conveying passengers on a newly built railway line.


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4 Responses to Elizabeth Line Trains

  1. Pat Dennison says:

    Thanks Adrian, these units are constructed in Derby by Bombardier and are classified as Class 345 and is marketed as “Aventra”. They are a development of the successful Electrostar design. I saw the first of the class 345 001i a siding at Crewe on Saturday 24th June looking rather grubby. It is being tested.


  2. So, I have beaten you to in taking a ride on the train !!


  3. Alistair Kewish says:

    I have been following the entire project from the moment it was subjected to being cancelled and then revived. Repeatedly. I know of no other rail project that has been stop / go such as Crossrail. There should be a place for it in the Guinness Book of Records!

    The hard part is going to be convincing passengers that an east-west journey and vice versa is going to be either useful or practical. An added irony being that an experimental through service once ran between Woking and Ipswich using an existing rail route. Using the N L Line, I gather. I don’t think it lasted very long but it proved one thing:- interchange without changing trains between one area and another, not obviously linked, was possible. There will never be a cheap tunnelling system. That gobbled up most the finance. It usually does.


    • Back in the late 1960s, when the Victoria Line came into being, it was not long before people started to use it. Similarly, the Jubilee Line was a winner almost from ‘day one’ in 1999. Every addition to the DLR has been a success and the Overground Line from West Croydon and Crystal Palace to Dalston Junction and further north is just crammed with commuters in the rush hour and pretty full during other times. The new Crossrail route is absolutely certain of success in two respects – (1) Short distance travel (like Bond Street to Canary Wharf) and (2) Long distance journeys (like Abbey Wood to Paddington or Maidenhead to Bond Street) where people living outside London are so quickly transported to Central London destinations.


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