Today marks the first anniversary of the Elizabeth line but there are mixed feelings amongst Romford residents and businesses on its impact.

The Recorder headed into the town centre to find out views on the line, a year after its inaugural journey.

Romford station sits on the easterly section of the network, which runs from Shenfield into Liverpool Street.

From November, through services enabled commuters to travel directly into central London and Transport for London introduced a full, peak timetable on May 21.

This sees trains connecting Shenfield and Heathrow Airport for the first time.

It seems opinions on the new line, which launched on May 24 last year after being beset by delays, are split.

“If anything, it’s made things worse,” says Steve Dace, a market stallholder.

Romford Recorder: Steve DaceSteve Dace (Image: Sam Rucker)

Steve has been selling jewellery in Romford Market for more than a decade now and has not noticed a boost in footfall over the last year – in fact, he thinks it might have decreased. 

“Now, it’s easier for people to get into London. So instead of sticking around, they just go into the city. It’s ruined us.”

Tara Simpson, who helps run Ashley Brooks Fabrics, agrees it has done “nothing for Romford businesses”.

She would have preferred authorities invest in rejuvenating the high street, rather than the Elizabeth line.

Romford Recorder: Tara SimpsonTara Simpson (Image: Sam Rucker)

“Just look around. Shops are closing left and right."

But Tara added: “I think that it is a good commuter train though."

She said her daughters catch the line most days to get to work. 

Someone who only has good things to say about the Elizabeth line is Patricia Lyle.

“I think it's a great thing,” she said. “And very convenient for getting into London, I’ve used it several times.”

Patricia recently moved to Rise Park and was waiting for a friend when our reporter spoke to her.

She said she is “very glad” her friend could come on the line, instead of her having to pick her up in the car. 

Imran and Javed Khan, two cousins running a branch of bubble tea chain T4, were both impressed when the line first opened.

“I got a good first impression,” said Javed, “it has beautiful terminals and looks a lot less dated than the DLR, for example.”

“It is a welcome change,” added Imran. 

But both admit that they have not used the Elizabeth line in more than six months.

“To be honest, I drive,” said Imran. “I think a lot of people around here just drive instead of using public transport. That’s how people are used to getting around.”

Romford Recorder: Amber BerkeAmber Berke (Image: Sam Rucker)

Amber Berke, a Chase Cross resident, doesn't think the new line has encouraged new visitors to come to Romford.

But she feels it's “absolutely terrific” for going into London.

“I use it all the time to get into the city, for brunches, lunches and nights out. I usually get off somewhere like Liverpool Street and catch another Tube to where I need to go.”