London mayor praises “quality of life” benefits of new tube line

The Elizabeth Line will transform travel in the south east when it opens next year, Sadiq Khan claimed this week.

The 41-stop line directly links Reading, in Berkshire, and Heathrow in west London to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the capital’s east and was announced by Transport for London on Tuesday.

Crossrail has been building the line since 2009, across which 15 trains an hour will pass through Canary Wharf, the City, the West End and Heathrow.

Mr Khan said: “When it opens next year, the line will improve quality of life for millions of people for decades to come.”

The route will open up London’s key employment districts to an extra 1.5 million people, who will be within 45 minutes’ commuting distance.

Three separate services will start in December 2018: Paddington to Abbey Wood and Heathrow and Liverpool Street to Shenfield.

By December 2019 the 60-mile line should be fully open.

The line will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10% and is expected to boost the economy by £42 billion, creating an estimated 60,000 jobs in the City of London and Isle of Dogs.

Rail minister Paul Maynard said: “We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century.

“With 96% of the contracts for Crossrail won by companies across the UK, the jobs, business opportunities and economic growth the Elizabeth line is creating is not limited to London.”

The Elizabeth line boosts the campaign for Crossrail 2, a proposed rail route in south east England which would run from nine stations in Surrey to three in Hertfordshire.

Jasmine Whitbread, London First chief executive, said: “London will celebrate the launch of the Elizabeth line but we can’t let the hangover blur the vision for our capital’s future, and that means Crossrail 2.”

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