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Crossrail: See inside the new Elizabeth line train on its first passenger journey

PUBLISHED: 18:55 22 June 2017

The Elizabeth line passenger train, after its first journey in Shenfield. Picture: Catherine Davison

The Elizabeth line passenger train, after its first journey in Shenfield. Picture: Catherine Davison

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After more than ten years in the making, today passengers stepped onto the state of the art Elizabeth line trains for the first time.

The McLoughlin family get off the train at Brentwood after travelling from Romford, on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017. Picture: Catherine DavisonThe McLoughlin family get off the train at Brentwood after travelling from Romford, on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Pulling out of Liverpool Street just after 10.30am, the sleek 160 metre long vehicle glided through Stratford, Ilford and Romford, before flying out to Essex.

Quicker, larger and comfier, the new Elizabeth line trains will significantly improve commuters’ journeys.

There are three doors per carriage, to help users during rush hour, air conditioning, wi-fi and additional wheelchair and buggy spaces.

The design, which is purple themed, allows for more space for standing during rush hour, and has accessible walk through carriages.

A passenger on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017.A passenger on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017.

Eleven of the new trains will be introduced on the TfL Rail line at peak times by autumn, and today marked the start of Crossrail becoming a reality.

The project, which promises to regenerate Ilford and other parts of east London, will allow quick access to the City, West End and Heathrow by 2019.

“This is a big day, the biggest day so far,” says Howard Smith, Transport for London’s (TfL) Elizabeth line operations director, on the first journey.

“It seems like forever we’ve been waiting for this.”

Elizabeth Line Director of Operations Howard Smith tells a passenger about the new train, on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017. Picture: Catherine DavisonElizabeth Line Director of Operations Howard Smith tells a passenger about the new train, on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Plans were approved for the new transport link in 2007, and for the last couple of years Crossrail works have disrupted services as engineers race to get it ready.

Mr Smith continued: “What people from others countries don’t understand with our transport system, is why when someone gets the train from Ilford to Liverpool Street, they then have to get off and go underground to continue their journey.

“Crossrail will put an end to that.”

He continued: “In total there will be 66 trains and they really are a step up from the old TfL Rail carriages.”

MTL Crossrail Customer Service Director Paul Parsons, on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017. Picture: Catherine DavisonMTL Crossrail Customer Service Director Paul Parsons, on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Mr Smith explained that 12 trains will run each hour, and said he thought the additional doors would make a huge difference for crowded rush hour stations like Ilford and Romford.

“It’s a mixture of commuter seating, and further down mixed seating with groups of fours,” he added.

Paul Parsons, customer experience manager, believes the new trains are a big step up.

“It is a nicer setting, with more capacity, better information is provided to passengers, and three doors per carriage,” he told the Recorder.

Maureen Peart, left, with Pat Pearce, right, on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017. Maureen met Pat on the train when she asked for help with getting to Romford, where Pat also happened to be travelling to. Picture: Catherine DavisonMaureen Peart, left, with Pat Pearce, right, on the first ever Elizabeth Line train from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, on 22nd June, 2017. Maureen met Pat on the train when she asked for help with getting to Romford, where Pat also happened to be travelling to. Picture: Catherine Davison

Addressing the complaints some people had made about a lack of toilets, Mr Parsons said there would be 33 at stations along the final line between Shenfield and Reading.

“We found that installing a toilet would take up the space of 600 customers an hour.

“On average users will spend 20 minutes on the Elizabeth line, so if they wish to use the toilet they can just pop off and then get on the next train.”

And while the first journey mainly seemed to be a mixture of journalists and train enthusiasts, the few local users were quickly impressed.

Abdul Rahim, 23, got on the train from Ilford to Chadwell Heath, where he lives.

“It’s really nice,” he said.

“It’s quite a big difference from the TfL Rail trains. It’s got air conditioning and there’s lots of information.”

The cool air was certainly a hit, given the heatwave London has been experiencing.

Jane Stapleton, who was travelling from Kent to Essex to meet a friend, described it as “amazing”.

The 50-year-old said: “Especially in summer it makes such a diffence, the old trains were just awful.”

Doug Blaber, of Chigwell, and Ken Milton, of Chadwell Heath, both aged 70, travelled the length of the line from Liverpool Street.

“It’s very nice, a vast improvement,” remarked Doug.

Ken added: “They’ve done it so well.”

In a nice touch the customer information posters, that are displayed on the trains, were designed by students from Redbridge College and Barking and Dagenham College.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commented: “I’m delighted that our first state of the art Elizabeth line train has entered service on the TfL Rail service. “It gives Londoners a first look at a new service that will transform travel across London and the south east when the line opens.”

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