A big purple announcement happened yesterday.
We finally know when Bond Street station will open.
So we finally have ALL THE CROSSRAIL DATES.
It's taken a while.
31 May 2015 - 'TfL Rail' brand introduced (Liverpool St → Shenfield) 22 Jun 2017 - New rolling stock introduced (Class 345s on TfL Rail east) 20 May 2018 - TfL Rail takes over Paddington → Heathrow 15 Dec 2019 - TfL Rail extended to Reading
24 May 2022 – Paddington → Abbey Wood opens (launch of the Elizabeth line) 24 Oct 2022 - Bond Street station opens 06 Nov 2022 - Central section connected to Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield 21 May 2023 – Full service operating through Paddington
The first four were long planned.
The last four are muchdelayed.
Crossrail's central section opened 3½ years late four months ago, and is now an integral part of the capital's rail network (Sundays excepted). But Bond Street's long been running a long way behind schedule, so it's great to finally have a date when it'll finally open.
Bond Street fell behind early due to unexpected problems with tunnelling and excavating the station box. Crossrail knew they had a problem as far back as 2014 but kept quiet, at least until 2018 when opening day was imminent and rumours started slipping out. The lengthy delay in opening the rest of the line should have allowed Bond Street to catch up, in which case the travelling public would never have been any the wiser. But Bond Street's woes were so bad that even a 3½ year delay couldn't close the gap, eventually forcing TfL to confess that "Bond Street has been decoupled from the opening of the railway".
Fresh contractors have been on the job since 2020 and they've sped thing up a bit, but even so the delay in opening has turned out to be as much as five months. Precisely five months in fact, from Tuesday 24 May to Monday 24 October, a gap we're already 83% of the way through. Never again need we hear the announcement 'not stopping at Bond Street' (except at times of special disruption).
A big new station in the heart of the West End is going to be exciting, filling what's currently a two mile gap between Paddington and Tottenham Court Road. It also means a brand new interchange with the Jubilee line and tourists walking out into Hanover Square for the first time (plus an excuse for bloggers and vloggers to go out and make yet more content).
Bond Street opens for five days before, oops, closing again, because the central section's shut for testing all weekend. But this should be the last blip because Sunday closures stop when the whole line links up on Sunday 6th November. Straight through Paddington for the first time, wahey, plus direct trains out through Stratford, hurrah, as we finally discover how useful Crossrail's going to be. Before long we'll have forgotten that these five months of disconnected pain ever happened.
The final date on Crossrail's list is Sunday 21 May 2023, the golden day on which trains from Shenfield are finally allowed through Paddington and the frequency of the service ramps up to its intended peak. This date has yet to appear in an official press release but it has to be 21st May because that's the day all National Rail timetables change so it's basically an open secret. Eight more months and the line'll be complete in all its purple glory. Because we now have all the dates, and the next is less than four weeks away.