Travel Updates

 

Major improvement works taking place in 2022 and beyond

Over the coming months and years, there will be a number of major improvement works taking place across the rail network, including in and around London.

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The timescales on this page are subject to amendment due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Please find below our detailed overview on the following key railway improvement projects:

Elizabeth Line

The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London, boosting the economy by billions of pounds and supporting thousands of new jobs and homes.

The line is named after the UK's longest serving monarch.

Stretching over 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow Airport to the west of London across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the Elizabeth line serves 41 accessible stations and is expected to serve approximately 200 million people each year.

A fleet of 66 new 200m long trains built in the United Kingdom will run on the Elizabeth line, featuring:

  • Nine fully interconnected walk-through carriages
  • Air conditioning
  • CCTV
  • Information on next stops for customers
  • Four dedicated wheelchair spaces as well as separate multi-use spaces for buggies, luggage and bicycles
  • Intelligent lighting and temperature control
  • Regeneration of electricity back into the supply when braking, using up to 30% less energy.

The central section of the Elizabeth line, between London Paddington and Abbey Wood, opened on 24 May 2022 as a separate route. Also from this date, the existing sections (between Reading / Heathrow and London Paddington, and between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield) changed their name from TfL Rail to Elizabeth line.

Later phases in 2022 will link the Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield sections, so trains can run all the way through the central section without the need to change trains.

In  the first half of 2023, services from Reading and Heathrow will be able to run through to Abbey Wood without changing.

High Speed Two (HS2)

High Speed Two, mostly referred to as simply HS2, will be the new rail network between London, the West Midlands and the North.

Phase One will link London Euston and the West Midlands. Phase One is expected to open between 2029 and 2033.

Phase 2a will follow, linking Phase One to Crewe on the high speed line.

Phase 2b will extend the high speed network from Crewe to Manchester, and from the West Midlands to East Midlands Parkway.

Trains will run on the new lines at speeds of up to 225 mph. Each train will be 400 metres long and will carry up to 1,100 customers. There will be up to 14 trains per hour in each direction.

The first HS2 phase includes a revamp and expansion of London Euston station, there will be a new Old Oak Common station in west London, and two new Birmingham stations at Curzon and Interchange.

At London Euston, HS2 will deliver 11 new platforms in two phases. This will more than double capacity at the station, as well as providing a new concourse and expanded Underground station, linked for the first time to the nearby Euston Square tube station.

Twin 13 mile (21 kilometre) long tunnels, the biggest tunneling project since Crossrail, will take trains out of London via a new station at Old Oak Common linked to the Elizabeth line.

More details on this project are available here.

Gatwick Airport station improvements​​​​​​​

Network Rail is delivering a vital £150m upgrade to Gatwick Airport station to relieve crowding, improve accessibility and reduce delays for commuters and leisure travellers.

With the number of customers visiting the station set to grow, this important investment will upgrade the railway station and help the airport to play an even bigger role in the local economy’s growth as a hub for international visitors.

The work will be ongoing until 2023:

  • Stage 1: Platform 7 was closed. A tower crane has been installed at the back of Platform 7. (complete)
  • Stage 2: Platforms 5 and 6 closed. The structures have been demolished, and the platforms are being replaced with wider platforms.
  • Stage 3: Platforms 3 and 4 have lift and staircase installed
  • Stage 4: Concourse work begins, with new lifts and escalators for platforms 5, 6 and 7
  • Project completion: 2023.

While these platform works are underway, an amended timetable has been introduced by the train operating companies that serve the station. The timetable change is necessary because the platform works will prevent trains from stopping at some platforms and a 30mph speed restriction will be in place when trains pass through the worksite.

The station upgrade will:

  • Double the size of the station concourse through the construction of a new concourse above platforms 5, 6 and 7, the refit of the existing station concourse and the construction of a new separate staff building to create more space for customers
  • Improve customer access for wheelchair users and those with luggage by building five new lifts.
  • Improve general access by installing eight new escalators, four new stairways and improved wayfinding throughout the station buildings
  • Reduce platform overcrowding and reduce train delays across the network by widening platforms 5 and 6. This will make it much faster for passengers to get on and off trains.

East West Rail

The communities between Cambridge and Oxford currently suffer from a lack of east-west transport options, to link their vibrant communities, universities and businesses.​​​​​​​East West Rail is a major infrastructure project which will deliver these much-needed connections. It will bring faster journey times and lower transport costs, easing pressure on local roads.

The East West Rail line already has its first part in place following construction work between Oxford and Bicester.

Further services will be introduced in three 'Connection Stages':

Connection Stage 1: Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes. Construction work is underway between Bicester and Bletchley, with completion due in 2025.

Connection Stage 2: Oxford to Bedford. This will involve an upgrade of the existing line between Bletchley and Bedford.

Connection Stage 3: Oxford to Cambridge.  Early planning is underway for the final section between Bedford and Cambridge, which will cross the East Coast Main Line.

More details on this exciting rail development can be found on the East West Rail website.

  

Details of planned engineering work for approximately the next 12 weeks is available on our Future Engineering Work page.

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Last updated:   07 June 2022