Every week TfL publish a list of track closures over the next six months. Previously it's only ever mentioned TfL Rail, even for closures coming up in the autumn, but this week the team finally used the Elizabeth Line brand for the first time. And this means we now know when the first engineering works are going to be. It won't be long.
See how a reduced service on the Reading branch is headed 'TfL Rail west' on Monday 23rd and 'Elizabeth Line west' on Tuesday 24th. The TfL brand really will be extinguished overnight.
The first all-day closure is scheduled to take place on Saturday 11th June, which embarrassingly is just 18 days after the line opens. We've already been warned that the line won't be open on Sundays for the first few months, but here we are with a premature closure on a Saturday too. As the line's Director was forced to explain, further testing is required in preparation for more intensive services, so "there have been three Saturdays identified where we need the full weekend to complete this work." Expect a second Saturday closure on 30th July, a third on 29th October, and probably more if they still can't get the software to work properly.
Also note how the closures are labelled 'Elizabeth Line west', 'Elizabeth Line central' and 'Elizabeth Line east' because when the line opens it'll be in three separate sections. Rest assured there's no expectation these three names will be used in wider circulation - this is just the way they do things on the track closure notice. It'll all be 'Elizabeth Line' as far as the travelling public are concerned (which is perhaps just as well, given that 'Elizabeth Line central' is the name of a new line and an existing line run together).
But this may actually be a bad thing because any time anywhere from Reading to Shenfield suffers a blip in service, the status for the entire line will have to be updated. Every time you see the Elizabeth Line has 'minor delays' or is 'part suspended' you're going to have to check which bit it is, and passengers only interested in the central section aren't going to care about a signal failure near Maidenhead or long gaps between trains through Romford. The Overground suffers from exactly the same problem - an umbrella name encompassing a multitude of components where the bit that's suffering probably isn't the bit you're on.
It's also a total own goal on Day One next Tuesday, because line status is suddenly going to switch to 'Reduced service' at 8pm even though the issue only affects four outlying stations. The Elizabeth Line, alas, is such a sprawling entity that it's often going to look a lot more buggered than it really is.