The new low-level station at London Paddington, that has been built by Crossrail for the Elizabeth line, has now been handed over by to Transport for London (TfL), which will operate and maintain it.
Built below ground adjacent to the 19th century Grade I listed building, the new Elizabeth line station, which has a 120-metre-long entrance canopy on Eastbourne Terrace, extends four levels below Eastbourne Terrace and Departures Road with entrances via a newly pedestrianised public area that connects to the existing mainline station.
TfL will be responsible for the station as the infrastructure manager and the Crossrail contractor, Costain Skanska Joint Venture, will continue demobilisation from the site.
This is the sixth of the new Elizabeth line stations to be transferred over to TfL, following Custom House, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Woolwich and Liverpool Street stations.
Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “Paddington station is world-renowned thanks to Isambard Kingdom Brunel and next year it will also be known as a key station on the Elizabeth line, providing a vital interchange with national rail services allowing customers to travel through central London and beyond.
“The Elizabeth line will transform life and travel in London and the South East and play a key role in supporting London’s recovery from the pandemic when it opens in the first half of next year. There is still much to do before the Elizabeth line can open but great progress has been made with this incredible railway over the last few months with the start of Trial Running and the majority of the central stations, including Paddington, now transferred to TfL.”
There has been significant progress across the project in the past couple of months. Trial Running of trains through the central tunnels began on 10 May as part of the major railway trials taking place throughout this year. The number of trains operating in the tunnels has increased from four trains per hour in May to eight trains per hour in June and reached 12 trains per hour on 12 July. This will be the initial level of service on the Elizabeth line when it enters passenger service in the first half of 2022.
Crossrail will also be trialling 24 trains per hour later this summer. These train movements are critical for increasing mileage across the network, supporting reliability growth of the railway and flushing out any issues with the systems and signalling software. Once completed, it will demonstrate that the Elizabeth line can operate at the full timetable needed for when services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield start operating through the central tunnels.
Trial Operations will commence later this year and is the final phase of testing to ensure the safety and reliability of the railway for public use. This includes real-time testing of more than 150 scenarios including evacuations of trains and stations before opening the Elizabeth line.
A revised staged opening plan for earlier opening of the Elizabeth line Stage 5 has been developed and approved by Sponsors (TfL and Department for Transport). The latest plans ensure the Elizabeth line services from Reading and Heathrow and Shenfield can connect with the central tunnels as soon as possible after the opening of the central section of the railway. The earliest expected date for this is autumn 2022. Full end to end services will be timetabled by no later than May 2023.
The Elizabeth line project is the most recent transformation of Paddington and builds on the legacy of the permanent station building by Isambard Kingdom Brunel that opened in 1854, the arrival of London Underground in 1863 and the opening of the original section between Paddington and Farringdon by the Metropolitan Railway.
Paddington is already a busy terminus for local, regional and international passengers, and the new station further increases capacity at this major interchange and secures Paddington’s role as one of London’s most important transport hubs and a key gateway to the city for the Thames Valley, Wales and the west of England. The Elizabeth line will provide new journey options for those travelling through central London, with journeys from Paddington to Farringdon taking just eight minutes.