The Anonymous Widower

Very Busy Lizzie

Yesterday, I took the Elizabeth Line, back from Reading to Moorgate.

  • When, I got on at Reading, there were perhaps fifty empty seats and I was able to have three seats to myself.
  • But by Slough, It was standing room only!
  • It cleared a bit at Paddington, but by Moorgate there were only a few seats left.

Currently, there are two trains per hour (tph) between Abbey Wood and Reading stations.

As other passengers said is always busy, I suspect that Transport for London need to tweak the signalling, so that four tph run to Reading.

This section called Planned Service in the Wikipedia entry for the Elizabeth Line says this.

In May 2023, it is planned to allow trains to run from both eastern branches to west of Paddington. This will allow both more flexible, and higher frequency, services: 24 tph peak, 20 tph off-peak, and direct services between Shenfield and Heathrow. In the longer term, when Old Oak Common opens, all trains will serve Old Oak Common, with those not serving the Reading or Heathrow branches reversing there.

The service changes for May 2023 were confirmed in February 2023. The peak timetable will increase to 24 trains per hour. Off-peak service level will remain at 16 trains per hour, with two Shenfield–Paddington trains extended to Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and two Abbey Wood–Terminal 5 trains switching to Terminal 4.

This will give an Off Peak schedule as follows.

  • Reading and Abbey Wood – 2 tph
  • Maidenhead and Abbey Wood – 2 tph
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and  Abbey Wood – 4 tph
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood – 0 tph
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Shenfield – 2 tph
  • Paddington and Shenfield – 6 tph

I don’t believe it is good enough.

I suspect passenger congestion and reaction will force a rethink by the Mayor and Transport for London.



February 20, 2023 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. I’m not sure I agree with you about how busy the Lizzie Line is west of Hayes & Harlington. You failed to clarify which carriage you were seated in and what time you actually travelled. Most off peak trains are far from well utilised. But it then doesn’t stop people accumulating in a few carriages to aid their exit at their station. This often leads to the front and rear carriages being predominantly empty. There was a shift in carriage utilisation when the Paddington stop moved underground. There was no desire to all be squeezed into the front 3 carriages for a quick exit at Paddington. For those exiting at Ealing Broadway there is no change from carriages 5-8.
    Reading – Paddington is well served by GWR and the Lizzie Line Twyford and Reading do not need a 4tph service from the Lizzie Line currently. But what is good is to see us that Taplow and Iver have lost some stops as these were pointless.
    The biggest improvement to speed up cross London services is the connection outside Paddington station. I’m sure it will become slicker eventually but it suffers annoying slow speeds and stops right now.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | February 20, 2023 | Reply

    • I was in the seventh or eight car and it was just after lunch on Sunday.

      Surprisingly, there were quite a few people going to the Spurs-West Ham game. But then they would just have the one change at Liverpool Street.

      There were also quite a lot of passengers, who looked Asian, quite a few of them, who were Sikhs. I’ve noticed this before on that part of the Lizzie Line and I wonder, that because of the financial crisis, they have started to go to see family on the train, rather than use the car.

      I spoke to one lady and she said, that the line has started to get very busy outside of Zone 6 especially at weekends.

      TfL have said that the delay entering the Central Tunnel will be removed with the May timetable change.

      I also wonder what is the design limit for the Central Tunnel. It should be at least 24 tph all day with 30 tph in the peak.

      If I’m going from Moorgate to say Bond Street, I don’t get on Heathrow trains, as they are getting rather crowded. I suspect no-one is using Heathrow Express.

      Comment by AnonW | February 20, 2023 | Reply

  2. The signalling can easily accommodate 4tph to Reading plus existing traffic its upto TfL to ask for the paths

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | February 20, 2023 | Reply

    • Thanks!

      I do wonder if the Lizzie Line is starting to suffer from London Overground Syndrome.

      London Overground Syndrome

      Comment by AnonW | February 20, 2023 | Reply

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