TfL's 'ghostbuster' Elizabeth line experiments revealed by London mayor Sadiq Khan

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
TfL is looking at different methods for tackling the 'ghost marks' which have appeared at Elizabeth line platforms.

Methods for tackling 'ghost marks' on the walls of the Elizabeth line’s platforms are being explored by Transport for London (TfL), Sadiq Khan has revealed.

The shadows of past passengers have cropped up behind the benches on the line’s underground platforms. The marks are caused by people leaning against the walls and damaging the paintwork over several months.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The London mayor said TfL is trying out solutions to the problem, including by placing vinyl coverings behind the seats.

The issue was raised in a recent written question to Mr Khan by Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat on the London Assembly, who asked how TfL is ensuring the walls are regularly cleaned so that “the stations remain fresh for decades to come”.

The mayor’s office responded: “A rigorous cleaning programme is maintained at all of TfL’s stations to ensure a clean and safe environment for customers.

“However, TfL is exploring new ways to clean the walls behind seating at some of its Elizabeth line stations to try to remove any marks and protect the walls in future.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“TfL is also trialling the installation of vinyl coverings behind the seating area and is in the process of evaluating the results.”

Images of the vinyl coverings reveal a range of tested designs, including different coloured "pawn" shapes and a block design which uses the Elizabeth line’s moquette pattern.

A "vinyl covering" design trialled by TfL at Liverpool Street Elizabeth line station to cover 'ghost marks'. (Photo by ianvisits.co.uk/Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service)A "vinyl covering" design trialled by TfL at Liverpool Street Elizabeth line station to cover 'ghost marks'. (Photo by ianvisits.co.uk/Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service)
A "vinyl covering" design trialled by TfL at Liverpool Street Elizabeth line station to cover 'ghost marks'. (Photo by ianvisits.co.uk/Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service) | ianvisits.co.uk/Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service

Opened in May 2022 and spanning 73 miles, the Elizabeth line runs from Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.

It quickly became extremely popular with Londoners, and by the end of 2022 it was responsible for one in six rail journeys across the UK.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In December, however, the line recorded the biggest rise in train cancellations of all UK rail firms. A total of 5.2% of Elizabeth line trains were cancelled between July and September, according to the Office for Rail and Road.

The line suffered a 4.5 point annual fall in punctuality in that period, though still had the second-best punctuality performance of all train companies, with 82.8% of services arriving on time or within five minutes of timetable.

Before Christmas, the mayor announced that four of the line’s most popular stations – Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street – have been fitted with 4G mobile coverage, enabling travellers to make calls and access the internet from the platforms and escalators.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.