April 19, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

John Bader
21st May, 2022

The long awaited Elizabeth line is opening soon, and the thrill of getting on its brand new trains is twofold, knowing its carbon footprint is predictably negative in the long run!

Transport for London is opening a new underground line for public use this upcoming Tuesday, May 24th. The Elizabeth line comes with 41 stations, connecting central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, and Reading and Heathrow airport in the west.

Elizabeth line map: https://content.tfl.gov.uk/elizabeth-line-map.pdf

Offering convenient connections to popular destinations in London, the Elizabeth line is expected to replace car journeys and diesel trains, which will cut down carbon emissions in the long run. According to Crossrail Legacy, once the line is fully operational, it is estimated to cut down CO2 emissions in the order of 70,000 to 250,000 tonnes annually. Taking the emissions that resulted from the construction of the line into account – which are estimated at 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 – the model predicts a negative carbon footprint in less than a decade. 

Carbon footprint is the net total of CO2 emitted by a specific body or project. Therefore, a negative footprint means more CO2 is saved than omitted. The new line is predicted to start compensating for the emissions of its constructions in 9 to 13 years, after which there will be net savings in CO2.

The new purple line will initially serve nine stations between Paddignton and Abbey Wood, with the exception of Bond Street station which is expected to open in autumn later this year. Likewise, towards autumn, lines from Reading, Heathrow airport and Shenflied are expected to start operating as two additional separate lines, connecting to the main line at Paddington and Liverpool Street stations. The full integration of these three separate lines into a continuous one is expected in May 2023. 


Tube it, bus it, train it… it will help save the planet.


John Bader is the News Editor for I,Science and is studying an MSc in Science Media Production at Imperial College London