So, my prediction post wasn’t as far out as all that. The announcement came two days early (and apparently it has been referred to the Electoral Commission as breaking Purdah rules) and the date itself is eight days later than predicted. The first public trains will run on Tuesday 24th May.
On that day the existing TfL Rail services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield as well as Paddington and Reading/Heathrow Airport will be re-branded as Elizabeth Line. For those services that will be the only change at the moment – they will continue running to their existing timetable until later in the year.
Also on May 24th the middle section between Paddington and Abbey Wood will start running some services. Initially it will be twelve trains an hour between 0630 and 2300 on Mondays to Saturdays only. Bond Street EL station will not open until later in the year. The extended night hours and Sundays will be used to make any adjustments prompted once public operation begins. There will, however, be a special service on Sunday 5th June.
Perhaps the reason why the opening has been delayed a week is that the Northern line Bank branch is due to re-open on May 16th. This weekend will see no service between Charing Cross and Battersea Power Station or Stockwell, as well as no service between Euston and Stockwell via Bank. This is so that alterations made to enable the amended service can be undone. On Monday 16th the full service will restart via all routes.