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Crossrail tunnel
Photograph: Paul Daniels/

TfL has confirmed that Crossrail now won’t open until the end of 2021 😭

By Anya Meyerowitz

Crossrail, the transport infrastructural equivalent of the unicorn: there are many tales about it, but no one has ever seen it. And it seems that Londoners, who aren’t the most patient of commuters at the best of times, still have a long old wait before they’ll finally get to ride on their new train line. A whole 24 months, to be exact. 

Speaking to the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee today, Transport for London’s commissioner Mike Brown announced that they were working to a timetable of between September and December 2021 as a new opening date for London’s latest line (‘late’ being the operative word here). 

If you aren’t up to speed, allow us to give you a transport update: Crossrail, which will be officially called the Elizabeth Line once it’s up and running, will connect Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. Once it’s open, you’ll be able to get from Canary Wharf to Paddington in a pretty impressive 17 minutes. It was initially meant to open in 2018, having cost £14.8 billion, but there has been a series of delays and budget issues along the way.

The Crossrail route was actually first proposed in 1941, but before you start thinking it’s taken 79 years to get to this point, the actual construction only started in 2009 at Canary Wharf. The high-speed line was intended to open in December 2018, but budget setbacks saw it delayed until autumn 2019. And you thought a 13-minute delay on the Central line was bad?

Then we were looking at an opening date in late 2020, then March 2021 and now it looks like it’ll be almost 2022 before we can get on board the Lizzie line. 

There is some light at the end of the £16bn tunnel, though. Brown also told the committee that they were doing their best to work towards an earlier date, so you never know? 

Until then, we suggest that you don’t base your travel plans around it just yet. 

Make the most of the existing tube lines with this map of the cheapest pints near every station.

Take a look at this brand new London tube map – it’s got Reading on it.  

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