The £150m Paddington Crossrail station on the Elizabeth line to Reading is finally finished and the long-awaited rail line is now expected to open in the first half of next year
The Elizabeth line was initially due to open in 2018
Paddington is the third of the new stations ready for hand over to Transport for London, following from Custom House in east London and Tottenham Court Road. Farringdon is due to follow next month.
The £19 billion Crossrail Elizabeth Line was initially due to open in 2018 and was then pushed back to the six months between October 2020 and March 2021. The opening is now on track for the first six months of next year, Crossrail has said.
Passengers travelling from Reading Station will eventually be able to travel directly into the city. In December 2019, TfL took over some services from the town into Paddington as part of the Elizabeth Line, putting Reading and a number of other Berkshire towns including Maidenhead, Slough and Langley on the London Underground map for the first time.
The new station has a 120-metre entrance canopy on Eastbourne Terrace. It is built below ground next to the 19th century grade I-listed station built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1853. The Underground station first opened there in 1863.
It extends four levels below Eastbourne Terrace and Departures Road with entrances through a newly pedestrianised public area connecting the national rail station. A pedestrian tunnel will connect it to the Bakerloo line.
Initially passengers travelling from the west of England, along with those from Reading and Heathrow, will have to change from mainline trains on to the Elizabeth Line to get into central London.
Paddington is also the terminus for the Heathrow Express and TfL Rail services between Heathrow Airport and Reading and has two Tube stations providing connections to the Bakerloo, Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City lines.
The completion of the station means that work can now focus on “extensive testing” and commissioning before the scheduled Elizabeth line opening – due in the first half of 2022. The new station has step-free access for passengers so they can alight from the train to street level.
Crossrail’s chief executive Mark Wild said the handover by contractors Costain Skanska Joint Venture was “another important step for us on the journey to opening the Elizabeth line”. He said: “Paddington is an historic and much-loved part of our rail network and the new Elizabeth line station is a spectacular new addition, which further enhances its role as one of London’s major gateway stations.”