Elizabeth line unveiled on new London Tube map


he Tube map has been redrawn to include the Elizabeth line – the biggest change to the map in recent history.

The £20bn cross-London line, which opens to the public next Tuesday, is shown as a white line with a double purple border – the same regal colour used for its roundels and other features.


But the design has already sparked a flurry of comment among enthusiasts on social media about whether this confirms it is “not a Tube line”.

There has also been debate about it being called “Elizabeth line” rather than simply “Elizabeth” – akin to in-station route maps that refer to only “Northern”, “Victoria” and “Piccadilly” lines, for example.


A Transport for London spokeswoman said the “double purple” line – rather than a solid colour, as used for the Underground lines – “helps to reinforce… that it’s not a Tube line”.

Purple reign: names after the Queen, the Elizabeth line roundel at Paddington station

/ Ross Lydall

However passengers will be able to interchange with the Tube or DLR at nine of the 10 new Crossrail stations, though Bond Street will not be open until later this year, and fares will mirror the Tube or services currently running as TfL Rail, except for a £7.20 premium on journeys to and from Heathrow.

The TfL spokeswoman said: “The ‘Elizabeth line’ is in itself the full name of the new railway and the route it operates on.

“In contrast, the London Underground is the name of a separate mode of transport which operates individually named routes. This means we’ll always include ‘line’ in all signage and reference to the Elizabeth line.”

The Elizabeth line’s depiction is similar to the white with orange borders used for the London Overground, the last substantial addition to the Tube map. The map was most recently redesigned last year to include the Northern line extension to Battersea Power Station.


The new map also shows the London Overground extension to Barking Riverside, which will open later this year, and last week’s reopening of the Bank branch of the Northern line.

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.”

No longer sponsored: The cable car at the new City Hall

/ Ross Lydall

The cross-Thames cable car, which will no longer be sponsored by Emirates when its sponsorship ends in June, is renamed London Cable Car on the new map after TfL was unable to find a new sponsor. It links the O2 at North Greenwich and the new City Hall in the Royal Docks.

The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways – the new central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood, plus the outlying sections between Paddington, Reading and Heathrow, and Liverpool Street and Shenfield, which already operate as TfL Rail.

From Autumn, trains will run between Reading, Heathrow and Abbey Wood without the need to change at Paddington, and between Shenfield and Paddington without the need to change at Liverpool Street.

However it will not be until May 2023 that “end-to-end” journeys between Shenfield and Heathrow or Reading will be possible without changing trains.

There will initially be 12 trains an hour in the central section, with the first trains departing from Paddington and Abbey Wood at 630am next Tuesday. There will be no Sunday services other than on the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

The Tube map was originally the brainchild of Underground electrical draughtsman, Harry Beck, who produced the imaginative yet simple design for a diagrammatic map in 1931.

It was first published in 1933 and became a template for transport maps around the world. Nearly 90 years on, it remains a symbol of London.

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