Visitors to London who are also transport enthusiasts (‘railfans’) sometimes ask for advice as to the ‘best’ things to see on London’s railway network. This page is part of a guide which aims to answer that question.
If this is the first time you have reached these pages then it is best to go to the Opening Page which sets the scene, explains the difference between the small and the large profile trains, offers advice on the best type of ticket to buy and photography tips.
Alternatively, it is possible to view everything on one page
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Crossrail as a name in the London context refers to a new subterranean railway which when it opens will enable existing mainline suburban trains from west London and east London to pass through the centre of London. In addition there will be a branch to the south-east of London, however this will end at an interchange station rather than extend over existing rail tracks.
What is significant about Crossrail is that its deep level 'tube' tunnels will be large enough for full size mainline trains, making it only the second such route in London - the Northern City Line being the first.
All being well Crossrail services are expected to start in 2018. The first stage towards this occurred at the end of May 2015 when control of the 'all stations' London Liverpool Street - Shenfield service was taken over by Transport for London and started using the temporary brand name of TFL Rail.
|A Class 315 train in full TFL Rail livery at Seven Kings station. The white railing are a recent innovation designed to prevent passengers from entering the little-used section of platform passed by fast trains.||The grey surround around the doorway on the left identifies this as being the nearest entrance to the wheelchair space.|
|A poster about the Crossrail service at Whitechapel station. Click here to read the text on an extra large 480kb version of this image.||A publicity artist impression designed to show what a Class 345 Crossrail train will look like. The type of train will be the Bombardier Aventra.
The first of the 65x 9 carriage airconditioned walk-through Crossrail trains will start being introduced in May 2017. These are expected to have the full Crossrail branding.
In May 2018 the local 'all stations' service between London's Paddington station and West Drayton / Heathrow Airport (ie: the Heathrow Connect) will become part of Crossrail.
In December 2018 passenger trains will start running through the Crossrail tunnels, albeit only between Abbey Wood (in south-east London) and Paddington stations.
In May 2019 trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield will start running through the tunnels as far as Paddington station.
Full service will commence in December 2019. This will include through trains from the east of London to Heathrow Airport and Reading. These through trains will replace the Heathrow Connect service, however the non-stop Heathrow Express will continue as a dedicated service which links Paddington station with Heathrow Airport.
It is also planned that some rush hour trains on the Liverpool Street - Shenfield route will continue to travel to the existing mainline (above ground) Liverpool Street station. This will be because services through the tunnel are designed for up to 24 trains an hour and this will not be enough to service both the Shenfield and Abbey Wood routes and provide the very high frequency of trains needed to carry the large number of passengers using the Liverpool Street - Shenfield route.
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