Today saw a major milestone for Crossrail as the Elizabeth line commenced Sunday services plus train beyond Paddington from Abbey Wood.
The very first train running to Heathrow left Abbey Wood at 7:29am.
Trains alternated between Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 until 10:09 when the first train direct to Reading begun.
The service pattern is then split between Heathrow, Reading and Maidenhead.
My one and only memory of Maidenhead is getting off an old diesel First Great Western train at night, tiptoeing about 20 metres on snow and ice, saying sod this then heading into the nearest pub.
Maybe I’ll give it another shot.
One of the downsides for those in Abbey Wood and Woolwich from through running is a reduction in off-peak services from every five minutes to every eight minutes.
This is because the Shenfield to Liverpool Street section is also now extended into the central London core.
That means 12 trains per hour to Abbey Wood reduces to 8. With eight now on the Shenfield branch the core increases from 12 to 16 per hour.
The reduction at Abbey Wood could determine my journeys a bit, as if I’m heading to Stratford (pretty common now for me from Abbey Wood) they’ll be almost as much chance as a Southeastern or Thameslink arriving first (with six train per hour off peak most days – it used to be eight) to take me to Woolwich Arsenal to change onto the DLR rather than Elizabeth line and change.
Still, that’s a niche case and trains every eight minutes aren’t too bad of course.
It does tickle me a bit though that the brand new system often has frequencies less than the DLR at Woolwich and the same as pre-pandemic Southeastern.
Of course its a far better experience a lot of the time with air con, lovely big stations and a very smooth ride.