They’ve been a symbol of London ever since the first one went up at St James’s Park over a century ago – but, as of today, there’s a new set of London’s iconic transport roundels in town. Purple roundels have been installed around the capital in preparation for the launch of the Elizabeth Line later this year.
Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Custom House are among the stations where the new purple roundels have been going up today. The new Elizabeth Line signage has been a collaborative national effort involving A. J. Wells & Sons Ltd on the Isle of Wight, Exeter’s Wood & Wood and Merson, based just outside Glasgow.
Involving the development of 10 new state-of-the-art, step-free stations, the Elizabeth Line – otherwise known as Crossrail – promises to ease congestion on the Underground and increase rail capacity in Central London by 10%. It will also bring roughly 1.5 million people within a 45-minute commute of London’s key employment districts.
Services will initially start with 15 trains running through the tunnels every hour, but this will increase to 24 trains through the central section by May 2019. The line will carry 200 million passengers every year, with people landing at Heathrow Airport in West London able to get one train all the way to Essex via Central London.
It’s expected that the Elizabeth Line will boost the London economy by approximately £42 billion, as well as supporting the creation of thousands of new opportunities for work and housing across London and the South East. Additionally, the building of Crossrail is estimated to have created somewhere in the region of 55,000 jobs, with 96% of contracts going to UK-based companies and a further 62% of those going to companies outside the capital.
Construction of the Elizabeth Line, the largest infrastructure project currently underway in Europe, is now entering its final stages. The line is due to open to the public in phases from December 2018.