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TfL Rail is the concession of two separate railway lines in London and its environs that will form part of the Crossrail service when it opens in stages. At that time, the TfL Rail name will be retired and the services will become known as the Elizabeth line.[2][3][4] The Elizabeth line was initially due to open in December 2018.

TfL Rail
TFL Rail roundel.svg
Ealing Broadway - TfL 345013 Hayes service.JPG
OwnerTransport for London
LocaleGreater London and Essex
Transit typeSuburban/Commuter rail
Rapid transit[1]
Number of lines2
Number of stations23 (18 managed)
Began operation31 May 2015
Operator(s)MTR Corporation
Reporting marksXR
System length36 miles 54 chains (59.0 km)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification25 kV AC overhead lines
TfL Rail
Shenfield branch
Miles from Liverpool Street
Liverpool Street Central line (London Underground) Circle line (London Underground) Hammersmith & City Line Metropolitan Line London Overground National Rail
Stratford Central line (London Underground) Jubilee Line Docklands Light Railway London Overground National Rail
Forest Gate
Manor Park
Seven Kings
Chadwell Heath
Romford London Overground National Rail
Gidea Park
Harold Wood
Shenfield National Rail
Heathrow branch
Miles from Paddington
Paddington Bakerloo Line Circle line (London Underground) District Line Hammersmith & City Line National Rail
Acton Main Line National Rail
Ealing Broadway Central line (London Underground) District Line National Rail
West Ealing National Rail
Hayes & Harlington National Rail
Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 Piccadilly Line National Rail Airport interchange
Heathrow Terminal 4 Piccadilly Line Airport interchange

TfL Rail was introduced in May 2015 when it took control from Abellio Greater Anglia of the commuter "metro" service between Liverpool Street in central London and Shenfield in Essex. That branch comprises the first 14 stations on the Great Eastern Main Line, with interchange at Shenfield for medium- and long-distance services beyond to East Anglia. In May 2018 TfL Rail also took over operation of the Heathrow Connect service between Paddington in central London and Heathrow Airport to the west (Heathrow Terminal 4 station being the terminus). That route has nine stations. The service is operated by MTR Corporation under contract to Transport for London (TfL). Between May 2016 and May 2017, TfL Rail carried over 47 million passengers on the Shenfield branch.[5]


In June 2013 TfL announced that Arriva, MTR Corporation, Keolis/Go-Ahead Group and National Express had been shortlisted to bid for the concession to operate Crossrail, which was under construction.[6][7]

In July 2014 TfL awarded the contract to Hong Kong's MTR, for a duration of eight years with an option to extend by an additional two years.[8][9]

MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd was created as a new train operating company and took control of the "metro" service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield from the previous operator, Abellio Greater Anglia, in May 2015. The existing Class 315 trains were re-painted in TfL Rail livery, and appropriate branding, advertising and message boards were added at the 14 stations along the line. Every station is staffed, from the first train to the last of the day.

In May 2018 TfL Rail took over operation of the Heathrow Connect service between Paddington and Heathrow.

In December 2019, Class 345 trains are due to start running between Paddington and Reading, then between Paddington and Heathrow in early 2020.

The line will be renamed the Elizabeth Line when the central section opens in October 2020/March 2021, with the current branches connecting up with the core in later 2021[10]


The eastern (Shenfield) branch of TfL Rail runs over the existing 20 miles 16 chains (32.5 km) of track on the Great Eastern Main Line between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. The future Crossrail route will retain the use of most of this track, except the portion between Liverpool Street and Stratford, where trains will use new underground tunnels to connect to the central section of the route.

The western (Heathrow) branch operates over part of the Great Western Main Line and the Heathrow tunnel between Paddington and Heathrow for 16 miles 38 chains (26.5 km).

Stations served or managed by TfL Rail:[11]

Station Zone Local authority Interchange Managed by Served by TfL Rail
Abbey Wood 4 Royal Greenwich   TfL Rail No
Acton Main Line 3 Ealing TfL Rail Yes
Burnham - Slough   TfL Rail No
Brentwood 9 Brentwood TfL Rail Yes
Chadwell Heath 5 Redbridge TfL Rail Yes
Forest Gate 3 Newham TfL Rail Yes
Gidea Park 6 Havering TfL Rail Yes
Goodmayes 4 Redbridge TfL Rail Yes
Hanwell 4 Ealing TfL Rail Yes
Harold Wood 6 Havering TfL Rail Yes
Hayes & Harlington 5 Hillingdon   TfL Rail Yes
Heathrow Central
(for T2&3)
6 Hillingdon     Heathrow Express Yes
Heathrow Terminal 4 6 Hillingdon   Heathrow Express Yes
Ilford 4 Redbridge TfL Rail Yes
Iver - South Bucks   TfL Rail No
Langley - Slough   TfL Rail No
Liverpool Street 1 City of London       Network Rail Yes
Paddington 1 City of Westminster     Network Rail Yes
Manor Park 3/4 Newham TfL Rail Yes
Maryland 3 Newham TfL Rail Yes
Romford 6 Havering     TfL Rail Yes
Seven Kings 4 Redbridge TfL Rail Yes
Shenfield C Brentwood   Greater Anglia Yes
Southall 4 Ealing   TfL Rail Yes
Stratford 2/3 Newham         TfL Rail Yes
Taplow - South Bucks   TfL Rail No
West Ealing 3 Ealing   TfL Rail Yes


The typical Monday–Saturday off-peak service pattern on is:

Shenfield branch
Route tph Intermediate stops Stock
Liverpool Street to Shenfield 6 Stratford, Maryland, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood[12]
During peak times, service frequency is increased and calling patterns are varied, with some stations omitted on certain services.
On Sundays there are typically four trains per hour between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
315, 345
Heathrow branch
Route tph Calling at Stock
Paddington to Hayes & Harlington 2 Acton Main Line, Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Southall[13]
Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 4 2 Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall, Hayes & Harlington, Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3[13]
Skips Hanwell on Sundays
Heathrow Central to Heathrow Terminal 4 2 360

Rolling stockEdit

 Class  Image Type  Top speed   Carriages   Number   Routes operated   Built   Years in operation 
 mph   km/h 
Class 315   EMU 75 120 4 32 Liverpool Street - Shenfield 1980–81 2015–present
Class 345 Aventra   EMU 90 145 7 and 9 70 Liverpool Street - Shenfield
Paddington - Hayes & Harlington
2015–18 2017–present
Class 360 Desiro  
EMU 100 160 5 5 Paddington - Heathrow Terminal 4 2002-05 2018–present

Shenfield branchEdit

A Class 315 and Class 345 at Liverpool Street

The eastern branch of TfL Rail operates with a fleet of new Class 345 trains.[14][15]

The Class 315 trains will continue to be maintained at the existing Ilford depot. The Class 345 fleet will be predominantly maintained at a new depot at Old Oak Common.[14]

Heathrow branchEdit

TfL Rail inherited five Class 360 units from Heathrow Connect when it took over operations on 20 May 2018. These trains will be used to operate the existing half-hourly (2tph) service to Heathrow while the Class 345 units will initially supplement this with a half-hourly (2tph) service to Hayes and Harlington, a service formerly operated by Great Western Railway Class 387 units.[16] Class 345 trains will run on the route from 2020


  1. ^ "TfL Rail: What we do". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ "MTR Crossrail - Crossrail Rolling Stock".
  3. ^ Smith, Howard. "Crossrail – Moving to the Operating Railway Rail and Underground Panel 12 February 2015" (PDF). 12 February 2015. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ Jobson, Robert (23 February 2016). "Crossrail named the Elizabeth line: Royal title unveiled as the Queen visits Bond Street station". Evening Standard. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  5. ^ "TfL Rail". Transport for London. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  6. ^ TfL announces shortlist of bidders to run Crossrail services Crossrail 25 June 2013
  7. ^ Crossrail shortlist reveals four contenders Rail News 25 June 2013
  8. ^ TfL announces MTR to run Crossrail services Crossrail 18 July 2014
  9. ^ MTR Corporation wins £1.4 billion contract to run Crossrail services Rail Technology Magazine 18 July 2014
  10. ^ "Our Plan to Complete the Elizabeth Line". Crossrail. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Liverpool Street to Shenfield (TfL Rail)" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Paddington to Heathrow Airport (TfL Rail)" (PDF). Transport for London. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  14. ^ a b Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract to be awarded to Bombardier Department for Transport 6 February 2014
  15. ^ Bombardier wins Crossrail train contract Railway Gazette 6 February 2014
  16. ^ "Crossrail: The Western Approach". London Reconnections.

External linksEdit

  Media related to TfL Rail at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Abellio Greater Anglia
East Anglia franchise
31 May 2015
Operator of Crossrail concession
2015 – 2019
Preceded by
Great Western Railway
Greater Western franchise
Preceded by
Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Airport Holdings & Great Western Railway
20 May 2018