By Olga Voronova
The latest Tube map has been unveiled with the biggest change in recent history – the addition of the Elizabeth line. Transport for London (TfL) has published the latest map that shows the new railway and its stations, launched on 24 May.
Services on the Elizabeth line’s new central section will run from Paddington to Abbey Wood through the tunnels beneath London constructed by Crossrail. This ground-breaking new route now appears on the iconic Tube map as a double purple line rather than a solid line to differentiate the Elizabeth line as a new railway as opposed to a London Underground line.
The Elizabeth line will initially run 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood, Monday to Saturday. New stations are now in the final stages of preparations ahead of opening to customers including signage and customer information.
To assist customers finding their way to or from the new stations, there have also been updates made to signage and wayfinding across London. The free TfL Go app will be updated to show the route as well as full accessibility information for users from launch day. Apps that use TfL’s open data feed will show new station locations and entrances.
The existing TfL Rail lines from Paddington to Heathrow and Reading, and from Liverpool Street to Shenfield become rebranded as part of the Elizabeth line from day one of opening and are also displayed on the map in Elizabeth line purple. Customers will initially be required to change at Paddington and Liverpool Street to access Elizabeth line services in the new central section.
All stations on the Elizabeth line will be step-free by the end of this year, with work continuing to provide lifts at Ilford and Romford stations. Stations from Paddington to Woolwich and at Heathrow provide level access from platforms to trains, which is reflected on the map.
The new Barking Riverside station on London Overground has also been added to the map. The extension from Barking to Barking Riverside will provide the area with new public transport links, improving connectivity and accessibility in the area when it opens in autumn.
Julie Dixon, Interim Customer and Revenue Director, said: “Our world-renowned map now has another iconic addition in the Elizabeth line, which will serve London and the south east for hundreds of years to come. When we open on Tuesday 24 May, the new Elizabeth line will begin providing greater connectivity and step-free access from Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood through the centre of London.
“This latest Tube map is a real credit to the team who have put it together. It has been both a challenge and a privilege to update Harry Beck’s original design to literally put a new piece of transport history on the map. This latest version takes into account a number of wider changes to the transport network, but will ensure Londoners and visitors alike are able to navigate around our transport network with ease.”
The Bank branch of the Northern line reopened on 16 May, this has been reflected on the map. The temporary closure enabled the completion of vital work on the new Northern line tunnel, platform and passenger concourse at Bank station as part of the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade. During this closure, work has also taken place on lifts and escalators, as well as refurbishment work at Borough and enabling works for the future Elephant & Castle Station upgrade. Harrow-on-the-Hill station, which became step-free in March 2022, has also been updated on the new map.
The front cover of the updated pocket Tube map has been created by London-based artist, Joy Labinjo. Her original artwork, titled ‘Twist Out’, captures an intimate mother-daughter routine as a mother is seen preparing her daughter’s hair for a ‘twist out’ hairstyle, drawing on the artist’s life experiences and memories as a British-Nigerian woman.
The new Tube map will also be sponsored by IKEA for the next 12 months, with markers showing the nearest public transport options to their stores.
Michael Hawkins, London market area manager at IKEA, said: “As we create a more accessible and sustainable IKEA, we want to make it easier for our customers to visit us via public transport. Sponsoring the instantly recognisable design icon that is the Tube map will support customers in finding the easiest way to us.”
Bond Street Elizabeth line station will open later this year. Work continues at Bond Street to complete the station for customers as soon as possible. There will be two entrances, one at Davies Street (providing interchanges with the Central and Jubilee lines) and one at Hanover Square.
Ahead of its opening to passengers on Tuesday 24 May, Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex visited Paddington Elizabeth line station to mark the completion of the transformational new railway.
During the Royal visit, Her Majesty officially unveiled a plaque to celebrate the completion of the line named in Her honour. The plaque will be permanently mounted at Paddington station, celebrating The Queen’s connection with the railway for generations to come.
Accompanied by HRH The Earl of Wessex, Her Majesty also met with staff who have been key to the Crossrail project, as well as Elizabeth line staff who will be running the railway – including apprentices, drivers, and station staff.
Her Majesty and His Royal Highness were joined on the visit by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Transport for London’s Commissioner Andy Byford, the Transport Secretary the Right Hon. Grant Shapps, and the Crossrail Chief Executive Mark Wild.
London is paying for most of the Elizabeth line, with nearly 70 per cent of the total funding paid by London – made up of roughly 30 per cent is from London’s farepayers, around 40 per cent from London’s businesses – combined with 30 per cent from Government.
The Elizabeth line is already supporting regeneration and new homes, jobs, and economic growth across the length of the route. The new railway is expected to support thousands of new homes and jobs and will boost the UK economy by an estimated £42bn. It will transform rail transport in London and the South East by increasing central London rail capacity by 10 per cent and relieving congestion on many existing rail and Tube lines. It will also transform the accessibility of the transport network by radically increasing the number of step-free stations and providing spacious trains.