11 months to go: first iconic Elizabeth Line roundels installed

Elizabeth Line roundel

With just 11 months to go until London’s newest rail line opens, the first iconic roundels have been seen at stations across the capital.

One hundred and ten years on from the installation of the first roundel sign at St James’s Park Underground station, the latest version of Transport for London’s historic design has begun to make an appearance across London’s newest railway – the Elizabeth line. The first new roundels have been installed at stations including Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Custom House in a significant milestone for Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

The Elizabeth line is set to redefine transport in London with quicker, easier and more accessible journeys when it launches in 11 months’ time. Construction has now entered its final stages and the line will open to the public in phases from December, when ten new state-of-the-art stations, all step-free, will open.

Elizabeth Line roundel in workshop

TfL and London Underground is famous for its rich heritage of design and the Elizabeth line is set to continue that tradition. While at the forefront of modern engineering and technology, the new railway will feature instantly recognisable roundels and signage.

The roundels are being manufactured at family-owned A. J. Wells & Sons Ltd on the Isle of Wight, where London transport signage has been produced for generations. Installation of platform roundels is being overseen by Merson, based outside of Glasgow, and wayfinding signage is being produced Wood & Wood in Exeter.

Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: ‘The Elizabeth line will truly transform travel across London and the South East. The installation of the roundels incorporating TfL’s iconic design shows how close we are now to the line opening, with new stations right at the heart of central London.

‘The new roundels also show the huge benefits that Crossrail has provided to the economy all across the UK. With businesses involved from Exeter, Glasgow and the Isle of Wight, it shows once again that Crossrail is a project that will not just benefit Londoners, but is benefitting the whole country.’

Platform roundels being installed at Farringdon.
Platform roundels being installed at Farringdon.

The TfL roundel is among the most recognised and imitated logos in the world. The newest addition to the roundel family – the purple Elizabeth line roundel – has been carefully designed to ensure it is visually distinctive from the London Underground and London Overground lines. The new roundels will also feature the celebrated Johnston typeface. Commissioned by London Transport’s Manging Director Frank Pick in 1913, and designed by the influential calligrapher Edward Johnston, the font brings visual uniformity to London’s transport network. Originally designed for wood block, the iconic typeface was updated for the digital age in 2016 to become Johnston100, complete with the hashtag (#) and at (@) symbols for the first time.

The Elizabeth line is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and TfL and will connect stations such as Paddington to Canary Wharf in only 17 minutes, transforming how Londoners and visitors move across the Capital.
From December, the line will initially operate as three services:

  • Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via central London
  • Paddington (mainline station) to Heathrow (Terminals 2 & 3 and 4)
  • Liverpool Street (mainline station) to Shenfield

Fifteen trains per hour will run through the new tunnels, increasing to 24 trains per hour through the central section by May 2019.

From December 2019, customers from Reading and Heathrow will be able to travel all the way through central London to the West End and the City and beyond without needing to change trains. By linking Berkshire and Heathrow in the west, to east London and Essex in the east, the line will transform travel across the South East, carrying over 200 million passengers every year. It will increase rail capacity in central London by ten per cent, reduce congestion on the London Underground, and an extra 1.5 million people will be within 45 minutes commuting distance of London’s key employment districts.

Europe’s largest construction project is estimated to have created over 55,000 jobs during the project, with 96 per cent of contracts awarded to companies based in the UK, and of those, 62 per cent are based outside of London.

The new stations and travel links are expected to boost the economy by £42 billion overall and support thousands of new jobs and homes in London and the South East.

Have you spotted any of the Elizabeth Line roundels on your travels? Let us know in the comments below or tweet: @transportdsn.

Image copyright: Transport for London


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