The map of London’s underground network looks busier than ever, with the Elizabeth Line – part of the Crossrail project – sketched out in purple.
The Elizabeth Line is set to launch on Tuesday, 24 May, some 41 months later than originally planned.
Some were surprised to see it on the London Underground map as the line starts and finishes overground, only going underground for the part of the line running through central London.
A statement from TfL said: “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.”
From Tuesday, the line will initially see 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood, Monday to Saturday, but be closed on Sundays.
The parts of the line that run from Reading to Paddington, and from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, Essex, will be branded as Elizabeth Line stops from Tuesday, but customers will initially have to change at Paddington and Liverpool Street to access the central portion of the Elizabeth Line.
When the line is complete, it will run from Reading all the way to Shenfield, Essex, west to east – as well as having a branch from Hayes and Harlington to Heathrow Airport’s terminals, and the branch from Whitechapel to Abbey Wood, via Canary Wharf.
Last week, the Queen made a surprise appearance at Paddington Station to see the completed line named in her honour.
The 96-year-old monarch had first unveiled the purple roundel that appears at Elizabeth Line stations in February 2016.
The line will not run on Sundays until some time in autumn 2022, and one of the key central stations – Bond Street – will not be accessible from the Elizabeth Line until later in the year.
The map also shows the newly reopened Bank branch of the Northern Line, which relaunched following four months of upgrades on 15 May.
The tube map as we know it was first designed by London Underground electrical draughtsman Harry Beck in 1931. Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) bought the design from him for just £10.
Julie Dixon, TfL’s 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.”
Meanwhile, some keen rail enthusiasts noticed some newly complex interchanges on the new map.
Matt from London pointed out the line-change options at Liverpool Street, saying: “As expected, it has some seriously crazy interchanges. I know what’s going on here, because I’m a London geek… but imagine trying to understand Liverpool Street if you were new in town.”
Other eagle-eyed tube users spotted that “King’s Cross St Pancras” has had an upgrade to “King’s Cross St Pancras International”.