TfL Rail

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TfL Rail
TFL Rail roundel.svg
315 821 speeding through Forest Gate.jpg
TfL Rail train at Forest Gate in 2015
Owner Transport for London
Locale Greater London and Essex
Transit type Commuter rail
No. of lines 1
No. of stations 14
Began operation 31 May 2015
Operator(s) MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd
Reporting marks XR
System length 20 miles 16 chains (32.5 km)
Track gauge Standard
TfL Rail
0 mi 00 ch Liverpool Street Central line (London Underground) Circle line (London Underground) Hammersmith & City Line Metropolitan Line London Overground National Rail
4 mi 03 ch Stratford Central line (London Underground) Jubilee Line Docklands Light Railway London Overground National Rail
4 mi 39 ch Maryland
5 mi 21 ch Forest Gate
6 mi 19 ch Manor Park
7 mi 28 ch Ilford
8 mi 45 ch Seven Kings
9 mi 23 ch Goodmayes
9 mi 79 ch Chadwell Heath
12 mi 30 ch Romford London Overground National Rail
13 mi 41 ch Gidea Park
14 mi 76 ch Harold Wood
18 mi 16 ch Brentwood
20 mi 16 ch Shenfield National Rail

TfL Rail is a commuter railway route in London and the home county of Essex that currently serves the 14 stations on the Great Eastern Main Line between Liverpool Street, in the City of London, and Shenfield.

It is operated by MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd under contract to Transport for London (TfL), and forms part of the future Crossrail route from Shenfield to Reading and Heathrow Airport.[1]

TfL Rail took control of the Liverpool Street to Shenfield "metro" service in May 2015. In May 2018 Heathrow Connect services between Paddington and the airport and the Heathrow Express shuttle from Heathrow Central to Terminal 4 will also come under TfL Rail operation. TfL Rail will then be re-branded as the Elizabeth line in December 2018, when the central underground section of the route opens.[2][3][4]

Between opening in May 2015 and the end of the 2015/2016 period TfL Rail carried over 38 million passengers. [5]


In June 2013 TfL announced that Arriva, MTR Corporation, Keolis/Go-Ahead Group and National Express Group had been shortlisted to bid for the concession to operate Crossrail, which was under construction.[6][7]

In July 2014 TfL awarded the contract to MTR, with a duration of eight years with an option to extend by an additional two years.[8][9]

MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd was created as a new train operating company and took control of the "metro" service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield from the previous operator, Abellio Greater Anglia, in May 2015. The existing Class 315 trains were re-painted in the TfL Rail livery, and appropriate branding, advertising and message boards were added at the 14 stations along the line. Every station is also staffed from first train to last of the day.


TfL Rail utilises the existing 20 miles 16 chains (32.5 km) of track on the Great Eastern Main Line between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. The future Crossrail route will retain most of the use of this track, except the portion between Liverpool Street and Stratford, where trains will use new underground tunnels to connect to the central section of the route.

The 14 stations on TfL Rail are:[10]

Station Zone Local authority Interchange Managed by
Liverpool Street 1 City of London National Rail London Underground London Overground Network Rail
Stratford 2/3 Newham National Rail London Underground London Overground Docklands Light Railway TfL Rail
Maryland 3 Newham TfL Rail
Forest Gate 3 Newham TfL Rail
Manor Park 3/4 Newham TfL Rail
Ilford 4 Redbridge TfL Rail
Seven Kings 4 Redbridge TfL Rail
Goodmayes 4 Redbridge TfL Rail
Chadwell Heath 5 Barking & Dagenham TfL Rail
Romford 6 Havering National Rail London Overground TfL Rail
Gidea Park 6 Havering TfL Rail
Harold Wood 6 Havering TfL Rail
Brentwood 9 Brentwood TfL Rail
Shenfield C Brentwood National Rail Abellio Greater Anglia


The typical Monday-Saturday off-peak service pattern is:

  • 6 trains per hour (tph) from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, calling at all intermediate stations;
  • 6 tph from Shenfield to Liverpool Street, calling at all intermediate stations.

During peak times, service frequency is increased and calling patterns vary, with some stations omitted on certain services.

On Sundays there are typically two trains per hour between Liverpool Street and Shenfield and two trains per hour between Liverpool Street and Gidea Park.

Future services[edit]

The schedule of the handover of services on the Crossrail route is as follows:

Stage Date Notes
Stage 0 May 2015 Existing services between Liverpool Street (main line station) and Shenfield transferred from Abellio Greater Anglia to TfL Rail
Stage 1 May 2017 New Class 345 trains brought into service
Stage 2 May 2018 Existing services between Paddington (main line station) and Heathrow Terminal 4 transferred from Heathrow Connect to TfL Rail, as well as shuttle services between Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 4 transferred from Heathrow Express to TfL Rail
Stage 3 December 2018 Services between Paddington (Crossrail station) and Abbey Wood begin; route rebranded as Elizabeth line
Stage 4 May 2019 Services between Paddington (Crossrail station) and Shenfield via Liverpool Street (Crossrail station) begin; limited services retained between Liverpool Street (main line station) and Gidea Park
Stage 5 December 2019 Full route opens, linking Abbey Wood and Shenfield to Heathrow Airport via Paddington, and existing services between Reading and Paddington transferred to Crossrail and extended to Abbey Wood and Shenfield

Between Shenfield and Liverpool Street once the Crossrail brand has been introduced there will be at least 12 trains per hour at peak times and eight per hour during off-peak times.[11][12]

Rolling stock[edit]

TfL Rail operations commenced with the existing fleet of Class 315 rolling stock. These units will be replaced by 66 new Class 345 trains built by the Canadian firm Bombardier Transportation.[13][14]

 Class  Image Type  Top speed   Carriages   Number   Routes operated   Built   Years in operation 
 mph   km/h 
Class 315 Class 315 at Romford.jpg EMU 75 120 4 44 Liverpool Street to Shenfield 1980–81 2015–present
Class 345 Aventra 345002 - Ilford E.M.U.D.jpg EMU 90 145 9 66 Reading and Heathrow Airport to Abbey Wood and Shenfield 2015–18 From May 2017

The Class 315 trains will continue to be maintained at the existing Ilford depot.

The Class 345 fleet will be maintained at a new depot at Old Oak Common.[13]


  1. ^ MTR Corporation Named as Preferred Operator for Crossrail, London’s Brand New 21st Century Rail Service "MTR Corporation" 18 July 2014
  2. ^ "MTR Crossrail - Crossrail Rolling Stock". 
  3. ^ Smith, Howard. "Crossrail – Moving to the Operating Railway Rail and Underground Panel 12 February 2015" (PDF). 12 February 2015. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Jobson, Robert (23 February 2016). "Crossrail named the Elizabeth line: Royal title unveiled as the Queen visits Bond Street station". Evening Standard. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  5. ^ . Transport for London Retrieved 22 February 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ TfL announces shortlist of bidders to run Crossrail services Crossrail 25 June 2013
  7. ^ Crossrail shortlist reveals four contenders Rail News 25 June 2013
  8. ^ TfL announces MTR to run Crossrail services Crossrail 18 July 2014
  9. ^ MTR Corporation wins £1.4 billion contract to run Crossrail services Rail Technology Magazine 18 July 2014
  10. ^
  11. ^ Crossrail (25 August 2015). "Eastern section". Crossrail. London. 
  12. ^ Hayes, Simon (19 April 2011). "Crossrail will leave a positive legacy says chairman". The Wharf. London. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract to be awarded to Bombardier Department for Transport 6 February 2014
  14. ^ Bombardier wins Crossrail train contract Railway Gazette 6 February 2014

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Abellio Greater Anglia
Greater Anglia franchise
31 May 2015
Operated by MTR Crossrail
2015 – 2023
Preceded by
Great Western Railway
Greater Western franchise
Preceded by
Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Airport Holdings & Great Western Railway
from May 2018