The Anonymous Widower

Elizabeth Line: Commuters Say Service ‘Not What Was Promised’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the sub-heading to the article by Tom Edwards.

All of the huge modernist stations are now open and it is architecturally impressive, but what has service on the Elizabeth line been like since it opened in the summer?

These three paragraphs talk about how passengers have reported problems to Tom.

Many say it has been hit and miss, and commuters in West Ealing have been in touch with me to highlight some of the problems.

They recorded some of their journeys for BBC London, and it doesn’t look pleasant.

Many are really fed up with the delays and cancellations and above all the overcrowding.

As with many new railways, like the London Overground, the Borders Railway and the Dartmoor Line, the passenger numbers on the Elizabeth Line have exceeded projections.

The main reasons are probably.

  • Convenience of the new route and its stations.
  • Curiosity about the new infrastructure.
  • The improved access to the trains with heavy cases.

But in the case of the Elizabeth Line two other factors also apply.

Are Passengers Changing From the Piccadilly to the Elizabeth Line?


  • The Piccadilly Line trains are smaller than the Elizabeth Line trains.
  • The Piccadilly Line trains are not air-conditioned.
  • Heathrow Central to Holborn is 62 minutes on the Piccadilly Line and several minutes quicker using the Elizabeth and Central Lines with a change at Bond Street or Tottenham Court Road.

Many passengers, who previously used the Piccadilly Line may swap to the Elizabeth Line for a quicker journey on a more comfortable and spacious train.

The new Piccadilly Line trains will have more space, walk-through carriages and air conditioning, so may well tempt passengers back.

Bond Street And All Stations To the East On the Elizabeth Line Are Only Five Minutes Slower By Elizabeth Line Direct


  • Heathrow Central and Bond Street is 38 minutes using Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth Line with a change at Paddington.
  • Using the Elizabeth Line all the way takes 43 minutes.
  • The figures for Liverpool Street are 46 and 51 minutes respectively.
  • The figures for Canary Wharf are 53 and 58 minutes respectively.


  1. The direct route avoids the change at Paddington.
  2. The change at Paddington between Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth Line is not onerous.
  3. Routes using Heathrow Express are fifteen pounds more expensive.
  4. If you’re desperate for a coffee, you can pick one up, when you change at Paddington using Heathrow express.

I believe a regular traveller to Heathrow, who has easy access to an Elizabeth Line station and in the past has used Heathrow Express will give the Elizabeth Line a chance.

The Jewel In The East Is On The Elizabeth Line

In 2014, I wrote Is Whitechapel Station Going To Be A Jewel In The East?.


  • The Elizabeth Line will go through the station with a frequency of up to 24 trains per hour (tph).
  • The two Eastern branches of the Elizabeth Line split to the East of Whitechapel station.
  • There will be four tph between Heathrow and Whitechapel.
  • The East London Line of the London Overground goes through the station with a frequency of 16 tph, that will be raised to at least 20 tph in a few years.
  • The District Line goes through the station with a frequency of upwards of 12 tph.
  • The Hammersmith and City Line goes through the station with a frequency of 6 tph.
  • The station has large numbers of lifts and escalators.

Passengers from all over the Eastern half of London will change at Whitechapel on their journey to and from Heathrow.

Farrington station Connects Thameslink And The Elizabeth Line


  • The Elizabeth Line will go through Farringdon station with a frequency of up to 24 tph.
  • The Circle, Hammersmith and City and the Metropolitan Lines will go through the station with a combined frequency of up to 24 tph.
  • Thameslink will go through the station with a frequency of up to 14 tph.

Passengers from Thameslink’s catchment area will change at Farringdon on their journey to and from Heathrow.

Overcrowding On The Elizabeth Line

It is not a surprise to me, that the Western end of the Elizabeth Line is overcrowded.

I noticed it in November 3022, when I wrote So Many Cases On A Train!.

What Can Be Done To Ease The Overcrowding?

These are possible ways to ease the overcrowding.

Increase The Number Of Trains To Heathrow

I would feel the obvious way to increase the number of trains to Heathrow, would be to run direct trains between Shenfield and Heathrow.

Currently, there are these trains.

  • 4 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Terminal 5
  • 2 tph – Elizabeth Line – Abbey Wood and Terminal 4
  • 2 tph – Elizabeth Line – Abbey Wood and Terminal 5

But is there the capacity to add extra trains between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow through the tunnel?

Run A Service Between Shenfield And Hayes & Harlington

This would add capacity in West London, where it is needed, but wouldn’t add any extra trains through the tunnel to Heathrow.

By timing this service in combination with the Elizabeth Line services to Heathrow, I suspect a very efficient service between Heathrow and both Eastern terminals could be devised.

  • As four tph run between Abbey Wood and Heathrow, four tph would be run between Shenfield and Hayes & Harlington.
  • Going towards Heathrow, the train from Shenfield to Hayes & Harlington would be a few minutes in front of the train from Abbey Wood to Heathrow. Passengers going from Shenfield to Heathrow would be instructed to change at any station between Whitechapel  and Southall, by waiting a few minutes for the following train.
  • Coming from Heathrow, passengers wanting to go to Shenfield would walk across the platform at Hayes & Harlington to catch the waiting train to Shenfield. The Shenfield train would follow a few minutes behind the Abbey Wood train.


  1. The two train services would run as a pair, a few minutes apart.
  2. No new infrastructure would be required.

Currently, there are eight tph between Whitechapel and Hayes & Harlington.

Four tph between Shenfield and Hayes & Harlington would increase the following.

  • The capacity between Whitechapel and Hayes & Harlington by fifty percent.
  • The train frequency in the central tunnel to twenty tph or a train every three minutes.
  • The frequency between Paddington and Shenfield to twelve tph.

There would still be four tph available for more services.






January 25, 2023 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hello from Thailand

    how are you?

    I was wondering Have you seen anything yet on whether Elizabeth line has taken people off the central line and if so by how much? Maybe I missed you blogging on this already!


    Sent from my iPhone

    Comment by lawrenceedwardwilsonhotmailcom | January 26, 2023 | Reply

  2. My daughter lives in North Kent, and today she was going to Ealing for a meeting. She told me the various trains/tubes/whatever that she would use, with changes at various stages – it sounded complicated to me but she says it is straightforward. I gathered that “where to leave her car” was a consideration – she isn’t near enough to any of the stations involved to walk, especially at 7.00 a.m. on a Winter morning. I suspect there may be a lot of people into that position when it comes to using the trains or the Tube. I know that up here, there are issues for people who want to use the tram but the nearest place to park a car is 3 or 4 miles away.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 26, 2023 | Reply

  3. There is definitely, a need for more park-and-ride sites. London’s new Lizzie Line isn’t well served.

    I suspect the technology exists, so that large car parks can be built with hundreds of Vehicle-to-Grid chargers, so that electric cars can be used to store excess electricity and contribute when supplies are low. You would use an app on your phone to tell your car, when you would return and how much power you want in the battery.

    Comment by AnonW | January 26, 2023 | Reply

    • I agree – this area has very few park and ride places. We are about 3 or 4 miles from the one for Tram terminus at East Didsbury – but there aren’t enough disabled parking places there. They do now allow certain mobility scooters on the trams, but for the majority you have obtain a pass saying it is approved. Mine is tiny and folds very small, and I don’t need a pass. My current car is petrol but the one I am waiting for – held up because of the shortage something electrical – will be hybrid. I would have looked at getting an electric one if there was somewhere to charge it! Our daughter and her partner were looking at the them, but they live in an apartment and there are no charging spaces in the car park. But they are looking to move to a house, and will get one with a drive where they can have charging point. They had started looking, until the interest rates shot up.

      Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 26, 2023 | Reply

  4. I don’t drive, but our South London Mayor keeps removing bus routes! If he tries to remove one in the South, all his mates give him an ear-bashing. Even my MP couldn’t get him to change his mind over the last bus closure.

    Comment by AnonW | January 26, 2023 | Reply

  5. With rumours that HS2 may be curtailed to finish at Old Oak Common you have to wonder what impact that could have on Elizabeth Line passenger loadings and services generally.
    Additionally what would that mean for the redevelopment of Euston and the attractiveness of HS2 versus the traditional routes from the West Midlands and North West of England.

    Comment by fammorris | January 27, 2023 | Reply

  6. […] There have been complaints, which I wrote about in Elizabeth Line: Commuters Say Service ‘Not What Was Promised’. […]

    Pingback by Elizabeth Line Sees 100 million Journeys Since May 2022 « The Anonymous Widower | February 3, 2023 | Reply

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