Elizabeth line: Sadiq Khan says service is ‘the best line in the country’ amid performance woes

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The mayor apologised to those TfL Elizabeth line passengers "who have received a service that’s not good enough".

London mayor Sadiq Khan has praised the Elizabeth line for being “the best line in the country”, though acknowledged “it’s not perfect” amid criticism of recent performance.

London’s newest transport service, opened in May 2022, has broken numerous passenger records over the last 18 months. Last month it had its most successful day so far, with 783,000 journeys recorded on September 28, in a week which saw 4.5 million journeys made.

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The line has not been without its issues. LondonWorld reported last month that, according to the Office of Rail and Road figures covering the four weeks to August 19,  a total of 9.1% of services on the Elizabeth line did not run. The latest data, covering the following four weeks, shows this had dropped to 4.3%, which while substantially less is still the joint-second highest percentage since the line was opened.

The Mail Online reported that last week the service was hit by severe delays every day.

Sadiq Khan at the opening of the new Elizabeth line stop at Bond Street. Credit: Isabel Infantes/Getty Images.Sadiq Khan at the opening of the new Elizabeth line stop at Bond Street. Credit: Isabel Infantes/Getty Images.
Sadiq Khan at the opening of the new Elizabeth line stop at Bond Street. Credit: Isabel Infantes/Getty Images. | Getty Images

Speaking to LondonWorld, Mr Khan said that unlike the government, which he accused of having “thrown in the towel with High Speed 2”, he managed to complete the Elizabeth line.

“We finished it, it’s up and running, it’s the most popular train line in the country,” he said. 

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After referencing the service’s passenger numbers, with more than 250m journeys since it was opened, Mr Khan continued to describe it as “the best line in the country”, before adding: “But it’s not perfect.”

He continued: “There are problems particularly with the Network Rail western section and eastern section. The service we provide on some days hasn’t been good enough. It was raised at the TfL board meeting. The TfL commissioner (Andy Lord) apologised. I echo that apology for those people who have received a service that’s not good enough. TfL are continuing to work with National Rail to improve the service to ensure the Elizabeth line continues to improve.”

As reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Network Rail earlier this month said it has “brought in industry experts from the UK and the continent, as well as the manufacturers of some of our components, to understand precisely why some of our infrastructure isn’t performing how it should, and this forms the basis of our improvement plans”.

London TravelWatch, the capital’s transport watchdog, has separately said it wants to meet senior TfL operations staff to discuss what can be done to improve services.

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