Crossrail: How much tickets will cost to ride the Elizabeth Line when it opens

That Elizabeth line is finally on track to open in the first half of 2022 when the London portion of the £18.9 billion Crossrail project opens to public use. Passengers will be able to use the brand new railway under central London once operational exercises are complete, but an exact date has not yet been set.

Since breaking ground in 2009, the complex infrastructure project has repeatedly fallen behind schedule and the budget has far exceeded original estimates. When all stages of delivery are complete, the gleaming Class 345 trains are expected to carry an estimated 200 million passengers from Reading to central London, Heathrow, Abbey Wood and Shenfield.

Transport For London (TfL) has already taken on a number of services from the east and west, including the Great Western Railway’s stopping service at Reading. These operations will temporarily run under the brand name TfL rail until the Elizabeth line is finished.

READ MORE: The difference between Crossrail and the Elizabeth Line

Fares on the new route will remain broadly the same as today’s TfL Rail services, with a cap also in place, TfL has confirmed. Find out how much tickets cost on the Elizabeth Line and when the service is expected to run non-stop.

The definitive card when the Elizabeth line is open continuously from May 2023


TfL has confirmed that “fares on the Elizabeth line from east or west to central section stations will be exactly the same as they are today to a London Underground station in the same zone as the required Elizabeth line station, fares are also capped.” This includes Elizabeth Line stations outside of London’s fare zones.

After an increase in March, the cap for zones 1-6 is £14.10 for all travel within 24 hours. So if you pay £11.60 for a journey from Heathrow to Paddington (current TfL fare), you’ll pay up to £2.50 for additional journeys on the Transport for London network on the same day. This is still a surcharge compared to taking the tube to the airport – but it’s still a lot cheaper from the £25 single ticket over the faster Heathrow Express. There is also a weekly cap from Monday to Sunday – find out more on the TfL website.

Contactless payments will be accepted on the entire Elizabeth line, Oyster ticketing will also be available but as with current TfL Rail services not between Reading and West Drayton. If you want to use Oyster Pay as you go and travel to or from stations on this section of the Elizabeth Line, you’ll need to purchase a paper ticket or use contactless to pay.

TfL has also confirmed that the following will apply:

  • People with a Freedom Pass for disabled people can travel free on the Elizabeth Line, including to Heathrow and Reading, anytime on weekdays, weekends and bank holidays.
  • Those with a Freedom Pass for seniors can travel for free on the Elizabeth line, including Heathrow and Reading, anytime after 9am on weekdays and anytime on weekends and bank holidays.
  • Those with a 60+ Oyster photocard can travel for free on the Elizabeth line, including Heathrow (except between West Drayton and Reading) after 9am weekdays and anytime on weekends and bank holidays.

opening stages

The Elizabeth Line will open in two phases. In the first phase, the route will operate as three separate railways – the recently built central part, the western and the eastern network. This means that passengers traveling from Reading and Heathrow to London, for example, will still need to change at Paddington National Rail station to Paddington Elizabeth Line station to travel to central London.

First half of 2022

The Elizabeth line will start between ten new London stations from Paddington to Abbey Wood through new tunnels under central London. The frequency in this phase is 12 trains per hour in each direction.

Services from Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and from Shenfield to Liverpool Street are rebranded from TfL Rail to the Elizabeth Line.

Fall 2022

The integration of east and west traffic into the new central tunnel and stations is currently expected in autumn. This will include Berkshire stations at Iver, Langley, Slough, Burnham, Taplow, Maidenhead, Twyford and Reading, which will be integrated into a seamless service to London and beyond. 24 trains per hour will operate between Paddington and Whitechapel during peak periods.

Until May 2023

According to Crossrail, the final timetable for the entire route will be available “at the latest” in May 2023.

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