Elizabeth line growth still flying up as passenger growth continues

Another month and another stonking set of passenger figures for the Elizabeth line in the latest data from Transport for London.

The last month of the financial year saw 17.1 million journeys compared to 14 million the year before.

Ok you may say, there was Easter, and strikes, and maybe that was the bulk of it? Nope. Look at previous four-week periods.

Abbey Wood interchange

Period 12 in 2023/24 which mostly covered February 2024 saw 16.8 million. Last year it was 14 million. Similar seen in January.

The upward trajectory shows little sign of abating and it’ll be fascinating to see when it does level off.

This year also saw the start of Superloop buses which brought express buses to many areas linking people more quickly to the Elizabeth line including route SL3 to Abbey Wood.

SL3 outside Abbey Wood station having run direct from Bexleyheath

SL2 over the Thames also runs to stations such as Ilford with Elizabeth line services.

The Superloop network is also now looking to grow with Sadiq Khan re-elected with routes serving places like Romford.

Potential future Superloop routes on expanded network

Perhaps one reason (or many) that Tory candidate Susan Hall did so poorly is she had so little so say about the line.

One of London’s biggest success stories for generations and she was AWOL on the subject. Not even an attempt to boost her chances in places like Bexley by mentioning an extension east.

Crowds pile on and off at Stratford

Which brings us back to how out of touch certain politicians and government department’s like the Treasury have long been for decades.

Seeing the enormous success brings to mind how the Conservative party refused to give the green light to plans back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Abbey Wood station looking east

Then Labour under Blair and Brown refused to fund for over a decade in power. Always kicking it into the long grass as the population shot up alongside transport congestion.

Brown finally agreed in the late 2000s.

Then the Conservatives came to power in 2010 and it was put on hold again. Eventually George Osborne agreed. But what a tortured saga it was as short-term cuts were sought.

Abbey Wood station under construction. years of delays hampered progress

Now it’s open and the line goes from strength to strength. And what’s interesting is it hasn’t extracted as much demand as many – including Transport for London – expected as other modes of transport such as the Docklands Light railway and London Overground which have seen higher passenger numbers than predicted.

London Overground has actually been rising extremely strongly. It’s back almost to levels before 2020 and at times beats it. The DLR isn’t far off.

Future growth

Where will growth of the line end? Who knows. You can’t walk more than five minutes from most stations to see new housing on the rise.

Even the less sexy stations like Custom House are now a mass of cranes with thousands of new homes set to rise.

New homes on the rise near Custom House station

You name a station from Southall in the west to Abbey Wood in the east and it’s a similar story.

Woolwich is seeing mass change. Stratford too as covered just this weekend.

Further towers rising in Woolwich

Canary Wharf? Oh yes.

The next big expansion of the estate is gearing up to begin this summer beside the Elizabeth line station as part of North Quay work.

Big changes coming to the area

With enough time there’s half a dozen posts that could be uploaded showing changes in Stratford alone.

And those towers are just a fraction of what’s happening across London and beyond.

1980s office block coming down for tower near Stratford station

Given the enormous success – and how other transport modes are holding up – who now sees it as a waste of money?

Yet still we see the Treasury hamper much needed improvements while cutting existing rail services. An absolute scourge on wider economic growth.

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

2 thoughts on “Elizabeth line growth still flying up as passenger growth continues

  • The lack of vision and extreme penny pinching by the treasury is what causes most of the issues in this country.

    Elizabeth line might have been even more successful if it wasn’t for the penny pinching by the Condems in 2010.

  • As demand grows on the Elizabeth Line additional services may need to be introduced. However. Increased demand is not surprising taking in to account the massive developments that are being built around Thamesmead Abbey Wood and Woolwich..
    Infrastructure is not being upgraded to meet demand. Developers have offered money over the years to pay towards bus service improvements etc but these offers were not taken up by TFL/Local Authority.
    Many new developments are being built with limited car parking spaces as they want residents to walk cycle and use public transport more. So usage of public transport services like the Elizabeth Line and local bus services will continue to increase and need more investment to meet future demand.


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