London’s brand new Crossrail link is a fantastic addition to the capital’s transport network, making it a whole lot quicker and simpler to travel across the capital. The Elizabeth Line’s distinctive silver grey and purple trains entered service from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east on 24 May, just ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The route and its 41 stations - 10 of them brand new - have not only increased connectivity in the capital but have also put areas of west and east London in the spotlight, bringing them within easier reach and highlighting the qualities that make them great places to live.
At the western end of the line, West Ealing station already provides a rail service into London Paddington, but the station has been significantly spruced up to welcome the Elizabeth Line. With its host of historic houses and gardens – including Syon House to the north of the River Thames and the famous Kew Gardens to the south – this area of London has long been known for its heritage and open spaces.
The station is a short cycle or bus ride from The Brentford Project, Ballymore’s emerging new neighbourhood of homes, restaurants, cafes and shops, set between Brentford’s High Street and the River Brent. Once obstructed by industry, this major stretch of the riverside will be regenerated and made accessible to the public, with a new promenade adding to the open spaces of west London.
Travelling east, Canary Wharf station now serves both the Jubilee and Elizabeth Lines, giving journey times to Paddington station of just 17 minutes and Heathrow Airport of 38 minutes. Canary Wharf has already established itself as a city within the capital city, being home to such global financial names as Barclays and JP Morgan, more than 300 restaurants, bars and shops and 20 acres of parks and gardens.
Canary Wharf’s disused docks and Thames riverside sites have provided a wealth of potential to create highly desirable, high-rise waterfront neighbourhoods, including EcoWorld Ballymore’s Wardian. From its spa and gym and its lush gardens to the wood and other natural materials used in its apartment finishes, Wardian is a tranquil retreat that has all the attractions of city living on its doorstep.
Custom House is one of the 10 new stations on the Elizabeth Line and is its only station located above ground. The station serves the Elizabeth Line and the existing Docklands Light Railway, providing a link to the nearby ExCel exhibition centre, the Royal Docks and the new City Hall occupied by London’s mayor and the Greater London Authority.
A footbridge across the dock leads to the River Thames, the Thames Barrier, Thames Barrier Park and Ballymore Oxley’s Royal Wharf. With more than 3,000 new homes, the new Lyle Park, a school, doctor’s surgery, pub, community centre and more, this is a sustainable neighbourhood boasting amenities and some 500m of river frontage. It is now growing with the addition of Riverscape, an adjoining development of 769 homes across 10 buildings, to form a place that is family-friendly and has the everyday essentials of living within easy reach.
The Elizabeth Line’s opening has been a long time coming, but it promises to boost London’s rail capacity by 10%, which is the biggest single expansion of the city’s transport network in more than 70 years. Its effect on east and west London has yet to be seen, but it is certain to enable more people to discover its green spaces and neighbourhoods, and perhaps make their home there.