After what seems like an eternity, Crossrail is finally set to open.
From tomorrow the Elizabeth Line will open to the public with 12 trains per hour running between Paddington and Abbey Wood. More intensive services will be operational this autumn, with Bond Street station opening later in the year. The Eastern and Western segments of the line, currently being run as TfL Rail services, will be fully connected to the central section by the end of the year. Putting aside delays and budget issues, this is huge news for London. Infrastructure projects of this scale are incredibly rare, and Crossrail represents several decades of planning and work.
Whilst the phased opening might mean we don’t see the full benefit of Crossrail until later, it still represents a significant upgrade to London’s public transport network, with overall rail capacity expected to increase by 10 per cent. The opening of the Elizabeth Line will also ensure that London’s recovery from the pandemic is more environmentally friendly.
Farringdon has become a hotspot
Shortened journey times will help unlock locations to a wider number of users, with Paddington, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf and Farringdon amongst the locations which will become significantly more accessible overnight. Farringdon becomes the only station to provide access to Crossrail, the London Underground and Thameslink simultaneously. We have already seen this location become a hotspot for office transactions recently and we expect this trend to continue once the line opens and the benefits can be experienced in real time.
Another significant change for Farringdon is how much quicker it will be to get to Tottenham Court Road, which currently has no direct link – a 19-minute journey becomes just three minutes on Crossrail! These time savings will be important for both productivity and for employee wellbeing – the less time spent on public transport, the better. This ease of access across London will be equally important outside of the workday, with London’s retail, leisure and cultural industries all set to gain.
In recent years we have seen occupiers become increasingly footloose in terms of their office locations, and the Elizabeth Line will act as a further catalyst to this trend. This has become more important as we move towards the post-pandemic workplace, where occupiers are placing even greater emphasis on the location and quality of their office space. We’ve seen an average of five per cent prime rental growth over the last five years in submarkets with a Crossrail station, compared to a London average of 2.9 per cent. Despite the economic and geopolitical headwinds, we expect to see further rental growth in these locations as the tangible benefits of the Elizabeth Line are realised.
The Colliers London Offices team are all incredibly excited for the long-awaited opening of the Elizabeth Line and what it means for London. Look out for our follow-up blog next week where we will describe our first experiences of using the new line.
About the author
Christopher Dunn is Head of Insights for our London Offices team, he is responsible for producing forward-looking thought leadership content on key trends that are impacting the capital city. He regularly presents to clients and contributes to industry publications on topics relevant to London offices.
To contact Chris, email Christopher.Dunn@colliers.com