The first Elizabeth Line services for London’s Crossrail project are set to hit the tracks later this month.

Eight years after building work started on the project, which will span from Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, the first stage of the railway will open between Liverpool Street Main Line and Shenfield.

This will be followed by the Transport for London (TfL) Rail Service opening between Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4 in May next year.

The Elizabeth Line through service will then extend from Shenfield to Paddington by May 2019 and the line is expected to be fully open in December 2019, extending to Reading and Heathrow Terminal 4.

Howard Smith, operations director of Crossrail, said:

“Stretching from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the Elizabeth Line will change the way people travel around London and the South East and add much needed new capacity to London’s transport infrastructure.

The first of the new trains will be introduced later this month between Liverpool Street and Shenfield and will feature walk-through carriages, air conditioning, CCTV and real-time travel information.”

The Crossrail route will pass through 40 stations from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

The £14.8bn project is building 10 new stations, including at Paddington, Bond Street, Farringdon and Canary Wharf, while upgrading 30 more.

At the beginning of the year, a snapshot of the project’s progress was provided with a series of aerial pictures of the new stations shaping up.

In March, TfL, which will run the railway when services through central London open in December 2018, announced the first train to be used for passengers had arrived for testing in the capital.

It expects that new trains will carry around 200m passengers per year, with the new service upping central London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent.

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