London’s West End retail and hospitality sector, so important to the capital’s and the UK’s economy, have received what Sadiq Khan described as “a huge boost” with the opening this morning of the new Bond Street Elizabeth Line station in Mayfair.
With entrances on Davies Street and Hanover Square, the new station, which was not complete when the central section of the new railway came into operation in May, can accommodate 137,000 passengers a day. This increases the overall capacity of Bond Street, which already served the Jubilee and Central lines through its Oxford Street-facing section, to 225,000.
Footfall in the West End as a whole is still struggling to recover to pre-pandemic levels, with research for the New West End Company business group, published earlier this month, indicating that it is still about a fifth lower than before Covid-19 struck.
James Raynor, chief executive of major West End property owner Grosvenor Property UK, said the Bond Street Elizabeth Line station becoming operational will provide “a significant boost to businesses across the West End in the run-up to the festive season” and demonstrates the “wider economic opportunities created through public investment in infrastructure”.
Grosvenor is preparing 65 Davies Street above the Davies Street entrance for opening next September and developing the two-acre South Molton Triangle retail, office and leisure scheme opposite it, with work starting next year.
The design detail of the new station and surrounding “public realm” was completed by architects Hawkins Brown, Artist Darren Almond has created three pieces displayed at the Davies Street ticket hall based on locomotive nameplates, including Horizon Line (shown above).
Excavation work for the station revealed a former channel of the ancient River Tyburn, which was once a feature of central London and continues to flow into the Thames from Hampstead underground.
Reporters and London transport enthusiasts caught the first Elizabeth Line train to stop at Bond Street – a 05:47 departure – and joined the Mayor and Transport for London commissioner Andy Byford on the platform.
Among them was Ian Mansfield, whose coverage includes 20 photos from his journey and visit, and BBC London presenter Asad Ahmad, who described “a handful of train enthusiastic YouTubers wearing dinner suits and Elizabeth Line coloured waistcoats” alighting and “being treated like Hollywood stars”.
Elizabeth Line trains will continue to arrive every five minutes and increase to every three or four minutes from 6 November, when passengers will be able to travel the full length of the line, from Heathrow and Reading to the west of London and Shenfield to the east, without any longer having to stop and change at Paddington or Liverpool Street as at present. There will be no service on 30 October.
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