Wednesday 23 August 2017

The new London Elizabeth line trains are seriously cool

The fleet of 66 new trains will eventually connect Essex to Reading and Heathrow Airport.

By Peter Cary

A London Elizabeth line train has opened its doors to passengers for the first time – and the carriages are really quite cool.

The brand new £14.8 billion rail route, from Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east to Reading and Heathrow in the west, was launched on a Liverpool Street station service bound for Essex on Thursday morning, using track on the existing TfL Rail route.

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The service marks the beginning of a phased roll out of track serving the rest of the line, which will gradually open in stages from December next year.

The trains feature wi-fi access, plush purple seat coverings, and walk-though air-conditioned carriages, with plenty of disabled access and space for prams and bicycles.

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That marks a huge step up for commuters, used to relatively crammed peak-time services where bikes block gangways and cabins shudder from endless slamming doors as yet another disgruntled user shuffles through to find a seat.

The fleet of 66 new vehicles will eventually travel through some 26 miles of tunnels across the rest of the line through central London, much of which was purpose built to serve the route.

The project, known as Crossrail during construction, was designed so that each train will be able to hold as many as 1,500 people at full capacity.

But any eager travellers hoping to blast their way from east to west still have a while to wait: the full route will eventually open in December 2019.

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