The lines from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield are now connected with the central tunnels of the Elizabeth line, marking the start of through running services which also allows for an increase in frequency between Paddington to Whitechapel in the centre of the city.
Customers travelling from Reading and Heathrow are now able to travel east all the way to Abbey Wood without needing to change at Paddington mainline station, and customers travelling from Shenfield will be able to travel west all the way to Paddington without needing to change at Liverpool Street mainline station.
Journeys from the east to destinations beyond Paddington, including towards Heathrow or Reading, will be possible by changing trains and waiting on the same platform at any central London Elizabeth line station for the next direct train.
Customers will also able to use the Elizabeth line seven days a week following the start of Sunday services through central London. The frequency of services in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel has increased from 12 trains per hour all day to up to 22 trains per hour in peak times and 16 trains per hour during off-peak.
The full peak timetable, which will see 24 trains per hour during the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel, is on track to be in place by May 2023.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted that from Sunday people will be able to benefit from fast and direct Elizabeth line services into central London, seven days a week. This development is a huge moment for the capital’s connectivity, revolutionising the way we travel across London, allowing people to travel from Stratford in the east of London to Paddington in the west of London in just 19 minutes, and Ealing Broadway to Canary Wharf in just over 30 minutes.”
TfL Commissioner Andy Lord added: “I’m delighted that, starting this weekend, customers from the capital and the South East will be able to take advantage of quicker and more accessible journeys using our transformational new railway. Linking destinations in the east and west directly with central London, alongside Sunday services and even higher frequency services, has been eagerly awaited.
“The new direct routes, which now include central London to Heathrow, will connect people jobs, homes, leisure and international travel and driving the city’s economic recovery. I’m really excited for customers to make use of the new, direct journey options and discovering new destinations, particularly with step-free access available at all 41 Elizabeth line stations opening up different parts of London to even more people.”