Watch: Elizabeth Line opening date confirmed
The Elizabeth Line, London's newest railway, is preparing to finally open after years of delays and a spiralling budget.
The project – also known as Crossrail – was approved in 2007, with an estimated budget of £15.9bn and plans to open in 2017.
The cost has since ballooned to around £18.9bn 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 Tuesday, 24 May. 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 24 May.
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 5 June 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.
What about Crossrail 2?
Boris Johnson has backed plans for Crossrail 2 – another multibillion-pound railway in London – following the completion of the Elizabeth Line.
Crossrail 2 is proposed to run between Hertfordshire and Surrey, via tunnels under central London.
But the prime minister said the capital's businesses would need to develop a plan to pay for the line, which has been estimated to cost £33bn.
He said: "The real thing for us now is to think about Crossrail 2, the old Chelsea-Hackney line.
"That is going to be transformative again. All the problems of commuters coming into Waterloo getting up to north London, you can fix that with another Crossrail."