Elizabeth Line and some additional bits about Transport for London

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The Underground route to Heathrow is dependant on where you start, also if you have bags or not as some of the stairs up and over track can be wearing. We honed our journey down to this route taking various factors into account.

We always travelled from the east of London, arriving in Liverpool Street main line station. From there either the Circle Line or Hammersmith & City tube to Hammersmith. Out of the station, across the road and within 40 yards into the other section of Hammersmith station. From there the Piccadilly Line directly to Heathrow. From the east we found this by far the most convenient with a single easy change after Liverpool Street, although still plenty of stairs in Liverpool Street station.

As an aside if you have to go out of your way to catch the express trains to Heathrow I can't see the point. In fact you have to be really pressed for time to wish to pay much more to save 30 minutes.
 

JontyMort

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I think the shorter travel time argument is still there, and still about 15 minutes difference. But I could see the express losing riders when you are able to take a one-seat ride on the Elizabeth from stations east of Paddington. And they'll eventually have more frequencies as well.
If ever there was a destination prompting the old gag “I wouldn’t start from here” it‘s Heathrow. I would guess Heathrow Express will still get use in conjunction with taxis to/from Paddington. But, as you say, for anyone already on the Elizabeth Line from the east, the journey time saving on HX will be eaten up by changing trains - not to mention the hassle of lugging your kit around Paddington.
Paddington is my London terminus (120 miles away, admittedly), so I’m looking forward to trying out the new line.
 

greatwestern

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If ever there was a destination prompting the old gag “I wouldn’t start from here” it‘s Heathrow. I would guess Heathrow Express will still get use in conjunction with taxis to/from Paddington. But, as you say, for anyone already on the Elizabeth Line from the east, the journey time saving on HX will be eaten up by changing trains - not to mention the hassle of lugging your kit around Paddington.
Paddington is my London terminus (120 miles away, admittedly), so I’m looking forward to trying out the new line.
Paddington is also my London Terminus (also 120 miles away !!), but my route (and cheapest) up until now has been to take the train from Bristol to Reading, change to a local service to Hayes & Harlington then catch the bus directly outside the station to Heathrow (15 minute bus ride).
 
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Oh yes, please, Jamie! I’d love to see the photos and hear what you thought of it.

I saw a lovely video clip of the Queen visiting and being shown how to use an Oyster card. She looked healthier and more energetic than she has for a while (proving that trains are good for everyone?😊).

Andy Byford, Commissioner of Transport for London (the person some of us would have liked to run Amtrak), was also shown briefly, but the clip didn’t say if he got to say hello to the Queen or help her with her Oyster card.😁

Here you are Patty, the only photo that was close to giving an impression of the new train interiors. You'll notice that the cars are all open to each other, not sure if this is unique to London or is common around the world, the technicalitites of train travel pass me by. It enables you to walk through the train as though it were one car, they have minimised the amount of moving floor on bends.

The colour scheme is Lilac inside and out, although ouitside it is very muted.

At last we have a connection with the Queen, we all got our first Oyster cards on the same day, the only difference is we paid for ours.

Hope you are slowly building up to taking longer rail journeys, we'd hate to miss you later in the year.

e1452a.jpg
 

JontyMort

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Here you are Patty, the only photo that was close to giving an impression of the new train interiors. You'll notice that the cars are all open to each other, not sure if this is unique to London or is common around the world, the technicalitites of train travel pass me by. It enables you to walk through the train as though it were one car, they have minimised the amount of moving floor on bends.

The colour scheme is Lilac inside and out, although ouitside it is very muted.

At last we have a connection with the Queen, we all got our first Oyster cards on the same day, the only difference is we paid for ours.

Hope you are slowly building up to taking longer rail journeys, we'd hate to miss you later in the year.

View attachment 28473
The open full-width gangways are similar to those in the (excellent) S-stock on the sub-surface lines. In effect it makes the train into one long car. As well as smoothing out the loading it makes them seem much less claustrophobic. Many tram systems - Manchester springs to mind - operate on a similar principle.
 
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Here you are Patty, the only photo that was close to giving an impression of the new train interiors. You'll notice that the cars are all open to each other, not sure if this is unique to London or is common around the world, the technicalitites of train travel pass me by. It enables you to walk through the train as though it were one car, they have minimised the amount of moving floor on bends.

The colour scheme is Lilac inside and out, although ouitside it is very muted.

At last we have a connection with the Queen, we all got our first Oyster cards on the same day, the only difference is we paid for ours.

Hope you are slowly building up to taking longer rail journeys, we'd hate to miss you later in the year.

View attachment 28473

Thank you, Jamie!

I think it’s lovely (maybe because lilac is one of my favorite colors), and it makes a lot of sense to have the entranceways open between cars instead of having to deal with heavy doors (or any doors if carrying coffee or tea).

That’s nice that you got your Oyster cards the same day as the Queen.😊 Who knows, maybe she’ll put on a casual outfit and sneak out of the palace and take a joy ride with her Oyster card!😁

Yes, I am feeling much better about traveling now. I just came back from a few days in Mystic, Connecticut. This week I will get my second booster, then I should be fine for my first big trip in four weeks—Alexandria, Virginia, to Chicago and back—with a good friend.

I am looking forward to seeing you and Rosie later in the year—just let me know when you have your plans finalized for the east coast.
 

cirdan

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Depending on your destination, one way to avoid lugging your bags up and down too many steps is to avoid changing tube lines in central London and instead change at one of the suburban tube stations . The district line and Piccadilly line run parallel for a long stretch and at many of the joint stations you can change trains simply by walking across the platform .
 
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I am looking forward to seeing you and Rosie later in the year

We're looking forward to meeting you too.

We'll have firm plans made for the east coast within the next 2 months assuming the weather is as normal for November and we get our US visa, if the weather is bad we'll just have to all speed south and have lunch in Miami or somewhere, have you ever travelled in a camper?

Meant to add about riding the Elizabeth trains that for a commuter train they are pretty comfortable and seating type is varied throughout each car.

It's possible that over time the name will become shortened; Elizabeth Line = EL = The L
Now where have I heard of that before?
 
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Geoff was really enthusiastic about the Purple Train, Purple Tra-aaaiiiinnnn.....

(in fact all of London's train videographers were all atwitter and agog yesterday)

But of course (in my best Maurice Chevalier/Jacques Clouseau accent) we have had zee Crossrail for feefty years in France. And we are building see souper-douper RER under Paris, mon ami!
 

Devil's Advocate

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Depending on your destination, one way to avoid lugging your bags up and down too many steps is to avoid changing tube lines in central London and instead change at one of the suburban tube stations . The district line and Piccadilly line run parallel for a long stretch and at many of the joint stations you can change trains simply by walking across the platform .
It would be great if Google and Apple had a ✅ Carrying Luggage navigation option.

Geoff Marshall has his opening day video up.
Geoff was really enthusiastic about the Purple Train, Purple Tra-aaaiiiinnnn.....
Geoff Marshall has the most unintentionally distracting on-screen persona I have ever seen.

When it comes to London trains Jago Hazzard's train-focused visuals and dry snark is more my style.

 
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We needed to get to Heathrow yesterday in time for a transatlantic departure at 9:55 a.m. The very first westbound Elizabeth Line train to Paddington (we boarded at Liverpool Street Station) was part of our plan, with a change at Paddington to a Heathrow-bound train. We made it onto the Elizabeth Line train at 6:47 a.m. with about 30 seconds to spare.

2022-05-24-Elizabeth_Line-Westbound-Johan-Luke.jpg
 

cirdan

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The Elizabeth line is at its core the realization of a dream that goes back maybe 170 years or so.

If you look at the present day Paddington station, the tracks are some way below the outside surface, which is why the roadside accessway is a long downward ramp. This can of course be explained by the general topography of the area as further west, the Great Western main line is on surface and then even on a long viaduct in the Brent Valley. But urban legend has it that when Brunel designed the station he considered it only a temporary terminus and intended for the tracks to continue further into central London at some point in the future.

It would of course be impossible to build a straight line connection there today as the Circle and District line is in the way and of course the tunnel would be extremely shallow and thus interfere with the foundations of many buildings.

In the 1860s the first part of the Metropolitan Railway was built from Paddington to Moorgate, which was the the first part of what later became the London Underground. In the early days the line was intended as an eastward extension of the Great Western, and broad gauge trains ran on it, with some of them running thru from the Great Western. Later the Metropolitan and the Great Western fell out and the level of cooperation was much reduced. But freight continued to run here for many years afterwards and did not finally finish until the 1960s. An underground spur line, the remains of which can still be seen today if you know where to look, served various markets and a I believe an abattoir in the Moorgate area.

Later attempts by the Great Western to reinstate passenger thru running were blocked by there being insufficient capacity on the Metropolitan. Only the Great Western's Hammersmith branch had a thru service which was electrified and later fully integrated in the London Underground.
 
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To add to @cirdan's discussion above, there was a fair amount of through running between the Underground subsurface lines and the main line railways, for example trains that started out on the District Line and ran to the seaside resort town of Southend on Sea using the London Tilbury and Southend, pulled by District Line electric locomotives to Barking where the motive power was switched to steam. This had all ended by 1961 when the LT&S was electrified (AC overhead) and connections to the Underground were severed.
 

cirdan

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I think even today there are places where the District Line runs thru on mainline tracks. I think to Wimbledon but I'm not sure. The Bakerloo line also ran out onto the mainline at one time I think. At one time some of the Bakerloo fleet were actually owned by the LNER.
 

Willbridge

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The Elizabeth line is at its core the realization of a dream that goes back maybe 170 years or so.

If you look at the present day Paddington station, the tracks are some way below the outside surface, which is why the roadside accessway is a long downward ramp. This can of course be explained by the general topography of the area as further west, the Great Western main line is on surface and then even on a long viaduct in the Brent Valley. But urban legend has it that when Brunel designed the station he considered it only a temporary terminus and intended for the tracks to continue further into central London at some point in the future.

It would of course be impossible to build a straight line connection there today as the Circle and District line is in the way and of course the tunnel would be extremely shallow and thus interfere with the foundations of many buildings.

In the 1860s the first part of the Metropolitan Railway was built from Paddington to Moorgate, which was the the first part of what later became the London Underground. In the early days the line was intended as an eastward extension of the Great Western, and broad gauge trains ran on it, with some of them running thru from the Great Western. Later the Metropolitan and the Great Western fell out and the level of cooperation was much reduced. But freight continued to run here for many years afterwards and did not finally finish until the 1960s. An underground spur line, the remains of which can still be seen today if you know where to look, served various markets and a I believe an abattoir in the Moorgate area.

Later attempts by the Great Western to reinstate passenger thru running were blocked by there being insufficient capacity on the Metropolitan. Only the Great Western's Hammersmith branch had a thru service which was electrified and later fully integrated in the London Underground.
I wrote a paper on this with the Underground commemoration of its centennial in Modern European History. (L&C College had a prof who was big on technical history, which in the 1960's was still considered to be sort of radical.) I described the through operations and advanced the idea that the Underground was forced by the traffic demand to invent features of rapid transit, including clock headways, that worked against the variable nature of intercity rail operations.

Several years later I was in London and it was interesting to see the different profiles of the "underground" lines. And then in 1971 I found myself on the French military train out of Berlin-Tegel. It was a 50-minute ride to Berlin-Wannsee because the first segment was on the S-Bahn, including single-track segments and signals to keep us waiting for commuters. It functioned, but I imagine that was what a cross-London through car or train service was like.
 

jamesontheroad

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I think it is Heathrow Connect that went to TfL Heathrow Express remains separate with high fare. I see Heathrow Express still costs GBP 25 or GBP 32 one way depending on the class of travel.

Yes, as others have noted, Heathrow Express remains as the expensive but fast option from Heathrow. Both the Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth Line (formerly TFL Rail, formerly Heathrow Connect) trains depart from the same platforms at the Heathrow railway stations. There are loud, persistent and extremely annoying announcements to make sure you catch the right train.

Is there any advantage in opting for the higher fare, now that the argument of a shorter travel time is no more?
Someone other than me will have to give a balanced view on that. The only reason I ever rode Heathrow Express once or twice was for the novelty of it. Generally I continued to take the Piccadilly Line in from Heathrow since it dropped me almost by the front doorsteps of the hotels that I typically use when in London.

Heathrow Express (jointly operated by GWR and Heathrow Airport Holdings) is still faster from Heathrow to Paddington, but the commercial proposition of the service is definitely weakened. We will see how it survives with the "new" competition of the cheaper but more extensively connected Elizabeth Line.

The Paddington "Heathrow Connect" service now under the banner of Tfl rail costs £11.60 (27 - 37 minute journey time, frequency 4 per hour) compared to Heathrow Express £25 (15 - 21 minute journey time, frequency 4 per hour).

The tube fare is £5.50 peak times, £3.50 off peak with a journey time (from Paddington involving changing tube lines) of between 55 and 60 minutes.

It would be helpful if Heathrow Airport listed the options to arriving passengers as clearly as you have here. At least there is choice... but it is confusing and depends a lot on your final destination.

Paddington is also my London Terminus (also 120 miles away !!), but my route (and cheapest) up until now has been to take the train from Bristol to Reading, change to a local service to Hayes & Harlington then catch the bus directly outside the station to Heathrow (15 minute bus ride).

Hayes & Harlington is also an extremely useful splitting point for "split ticket" journeys to/from Heathrow using the Elizabeth Line.

In the last few months I've regularly arrived at Heathrow and needed to get to Cambridge. There are cheap "Advance" fares involving an underground train to King's Cross and then a specific departure from there to Cambridge, but these are risky given the flight could be delayed and the queues at LHR border control are often very long.

An Anytime Single (buy anytime use anytime) from Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 (same for the other terminals) to Cambridge [CBG] is £52.50. But two separate tickets, split at Hayes & Harlington are cheaper.

Anytime Single Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 to Hayes & Harlington £6.80
Anytime Single Hayes & Harlington to Cambridge £29.80

= £36.60.

You can buy these in advance from any train company and collect them from the Heathrow Express ticket machines in the Arrivals halls or the ticket machines in the railway stations themselves.

Amazing stuff. Going to Blighty in August, will have to check it out.

If you are lucky, your trip might coincide with the next phase of opening, which at the moment is simply penned in for "autumn 2022". At that point, the Shenfield - Liverpool Street and Paddington - Heathrow / Reading sections will join the main core through the centre of London.
 

caravanman

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In the 1970's, I worked for British Rail and I noticed a few of the diesel locomotives at our East London Stratford depot had an extra "stop ****" attached to a brake tube fitted just above the rail level.
I was told these locos were so fitted to allow them to run over the "above ground" Central Line sections out towards Epping.
(The underground had a mechanical lever at each signal, which raised when the signal was red, and would physically knock the train brake pipe stop cocks open to halt it if a train passed at red...)
I was told it was an arrangement to facilitate track working on the central line at night, but possibly before my time on the railway, as I never knew of this happening in my time there.
 
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