Here's how the opening of the Elizabeth Line is expected to affect other travel in the capital

Rebecca Smith
The Elizabeth Line is forecast to bring in billions for TfL - but also impact other travel in London
The Elizabeth Line is forecast to bring in billions for TfL - but also impact other travel in London (Source: Getty)

Excitement has been building over the completion of Europe's biggest infrastructure project, with the Elizabeth Line's big launch scheduled for December.

The £14.8bn railway will serve 41 stations in total, stretching across more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west through tunnels in central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Crucially for Transport for London (TfL), it is also forecast to bring a big financial boost at a time when TfL is grappling with the substantial loss in grant funding from the government and a surprise fall in passenger numbers.

TfL is budgeting for £151m of fare revenue from the Elizabeth Line for the 2018-2019 financial year, and by 2022-23, it expects nearly £1bn in revenue from the new railway.

Read more: TfL eyes rollout of 4G mobile coverage on Elizabeth Line and Crossrail 2

But, with the Elizabeth Line boosting rail capacity in London by 10 per cent and providing a transport option for more than 200m people each year, TfL's own forecasts reckon it will have an impact on other forms of travel in the capital in the process.

For example, at the moment, the fastest journey between Paddington and Bond Street is by Tube and takes 10-15 minutes, but TfL says on the Elizabeth Line this will take under five.

Migrating to the Elizabeth Line

TfL's latest business plan from last year said it expects passengers will be "migrating to the Elizabeth Line" during the initial opening of the railway.

The opening of the Elizabeth line will have the biggest impact on capacity and passenger journeys in TfL's five-year business plan, which covers the period up to 2022/23.

How the Elizabeth Line is expected to affect other London transport
  • Reduce the number of buses needed in the West End
  • Soften demand on other Underground lines - particularly the Central Line
  • Then bring new passengers onto other Underground lines once the new line is fully open in 2019 and new passengers travel into London
  • Reduce DLR passenger numbers in the short term from 2019

TfL had already been working to slash the number of buses operating along Oxford Street by 40 per cent, and the Elizabeth Line is expected to change travel into and around Oxford Street further.

So fewer buses will be needed in the West End as a result. The presence of the new railway is also expected to dampen demand for other Underground lines.

Read more: Oxford Street pedestrianisation cancelled: Concerns over Crossrail crowding

The Elizabeth Line is expected to have a particularly noticeable impact on the Central Line, with several of the 10 new Crossrail stations - Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, and Liverpool Street - cropping up alongside their counterparts on the Central Line.

The transport organisation does though, ultimately expect Tube service demand to bounce back towards the end of its five-year plan as it expects the Elizabeth Line to bring in new customers from outside the capital onto the Tube.

DLR numbers dampened

DLR passenger volumes are forecast to rise before then dropping back in 2019/20 and 2020/21, "largely owing to the opening of the Elizabeth Line".

TfL expects a three per cent fall in passenger numbers on the DLR over the course of its five-year business plan, though it says this should be temporary.

On Tuesday 12 June, the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee will put questions to TfL's finance bosses over the state of the organisation's finances, and analyse whether its predictions over increasing income are realistic. A large part of increasing fares revenue will depend on the Elizabeth Line opening on time - and if it is a success.

Read more: Mapped: How the Elizabeth Line will open in stages

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