Watch: Elizabeth Line to open on May 24
The Elizabeth Line, London's newest railway, will finally open this month after years of delays and a spiralling budget.
The project – also known as Crossrail – was approved in 2007, with an estimated budget of £15.9billion and plans to open in 2017.
The cost has since ballooned to around £18.9 billion and the opening date was repeatedly pushed back, most recently due to the COVID pandemic.
But the wait is nearly over, as the line will start running on May 24. Here is everything you need to know about how it will impact your journey.
What is the Elizabeth Line route?
The new line will run from Reading and Heathrow Airport to Shenfield, Essex and Abbey Wood, south east London, via the centre of London.
However, you won't be able to travel directly between those places from May 24.
The line will initially operate as three separate railways, with a change of trains required at Paddington and Liverpool Street.
The three sections are expected to be integrated in the autumn, although no date has been given.
Will Crossrail run seven days a week?
Not yet. Elizabeth Line services will initially operate from Mondays to Saturdays, as further testing will take place on Sundays.
The Sunday closures will be lifted on June 5 to help people travelling in the capital during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend.
Services which are already running in the east and west sections will continue to operate every day, but they will be rebranded from TfL Rail to the Elizabeth Line.
How often will trains run?
There will initially be 12 trains an hour in the central London section between 6.30am and 11pm.
A full timetable of up to 24 trains per hour won't be in place until May 2023.
Once it is fully running, the line is expected to boost rail capacity in central London by 10%.
How much will fares cost?
Elizabeth Line journeys in central London will cost the same as equivalent Tube fares.
Fares on services currently operated by TfL Rail will be unchanged.
How long will my journey take?
Many journeys within the capital will be quicker by the new line than by Tube.
According to travel app Citymapper, platform-to-platform journeys between Liverpool Street and Paddington will be cut from 18 minutes to 10 minutes.
How will it compare to the Central Line?
Many passengers currently use the Central Line for east-west journeys across London, but these trains are often crowded and hot during the summer.
Elizabeth Line trains will be more comfortable, featuring walk-through carriages, air-condition, wi-fi and travel information screens and air-conditioning.
Which new stations are opening?
Ten new stations are opening at the following locations:
Bond Street (won't be open until the end of 2022)
Tottenham Court Road
Transport for London (TfL) has said these spaces will be lighter, brighter and larger than most of Tube stations.
TfL commissioner Andy Byford said: "The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network."
London mayor Sadiq Khan said the Elizabeth Line will make the capital "safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous".
He added: "Green public transport is the future, and the opening of the Elizabeth line is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year."