The Elizabeth line is a welcome addition to London’s transport infrastructure. From cutting journey times and congestion release, to bringing more people than ever into Central London from the suburb areas and from Heathrow airport.
Through a mix of presentations, case studies and a panel discussion, this webinar explored the impact of the Elizabeth Line, the design of its stations and value this new project has brought to London.
Up first was Howard Smith, Director of the Elizabeth Line at Transport for London. Howard reinterred the real success of the line and discussed how brilliantly high customer satisfaction has been across the route, with passenger’s numbers also higher than initially predicted. It was good to hear that TfL is currently undertaking a study to analyse the benefits and impacts of the line, in relation to economic, environmental, and social value. It will also be interesting to see the results of this, as it can be hard to understand the impacts that these large-scale infrastructure projects can have and will hopefully support the business case for other infrastructure projects in the capital.
The second presentation of the session was from Raffaella Rospo a Project Director at Weston Williamson and Partners who discussed their Paddington Elizabeth Line Station. The new Paddington Elizabeth Station is the culmination of over ten years of work for WW+P and the key to delivering the successful station design was the integration of the new building with the existing. At the heart of the project there is a new civic open space, reconnecting Paddington station to the city, transforming how it is approached and improving its settings.
This space, covered by a generous canopy is the beginning of a spatial sequence which leads to the Elizabeth Line Platforms. Pedestrianizing a road in London was a complex task for the team, but worth it, as it is beneficial on multiple levels. WW+P complemented Brunel’s great interior by extending its rigour into the new infrastructure and by using the original grid a similar engineering approach to architecture. The passenger experience is central in WW+P project, while moving around the station it is absolutely clear where to go and there is little need for signage, because the natural light and the space provide for directions.
One year on since its opening and its success as well as the entire Elizabeth Line is phenomenal and tangible. The Elizabeth line’s income is more than £50m higher than anticipated and TfL expects it to break even by the end of the next financial year.
This project makes an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment, supporting sustainable travel and city regeneration, setting a great benchmark for infrastructure around the world.
Marc Clark, Regeneration Programme Manager at LB Redbridge spoke next about Ilford station. Before the Elizabeth Line, Ilford was a housing zone, and together with Allies and Morrison, LB Redbridge put together a manifesto for the project and a masterplan. The existing Ilford station was not particularly welcoming, and the arrival of the Elizabeth Line meant improving the station building and its surroundings, making Ilford more accessible, convenient and safe, and driving local investment. The Elizabeth Line coming to Ilford has also allowed for Queen Mary University to open a satellite campus in the area, further demonstrating the positive benefits of seamless travel connectivity with London.
After the sequence of presentations the event opened up into a panel discussion, Chaired by NLA’s Benjamin O’Connor, where all previous speakers were joined by Sarah Jaconelli, Director of Communications & Campaigns, New West End Company.
Sarah discussed how the Elizabeth Line has impacted businesses in London’s West End, referencing the major impact on spending in the area that could be due to the increase in speed and ease of the journey into London. The average time spent in the West End is over 2 hours partly because people spend less time traveling. The prioritization of step free access had a huge impact on the accessibility of the West End too, allowing for more people with access needs to travel more easily then before.
There were interesting discussions around the wider impacts that the Elizabeth line has had, with investments and economic growth in all areas, supported by shorter journey times and passenger numbers. This builds on the legacy of other TfL projects such as the Jubilee Line extension, and the East London line, and hopefully something that can be replicated by the Bakerloo Line Extension!