OPERATIONS have begun at a new, purpose-built train depot at Old Oak Common in a milestone for London’s new railway, the Elizabeth line (Crossrail).

The Transport for London depot will house and maintain up to 42 of the Elizabeth line’s 70 new trains at a time.

It will play a critical role in the day-to-day operation of the Elizabeth line when it launches in seven months’ time.

As a precursor to the launch in December, TfL Rail will take over the Heathrow Connect service between Paddington and Heathrow from Sunday, May 20.

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A third of the new maintenance centre will be powered by an innovative renewable energy system, involving ground source heating and cooling from a combination of energy piles and 150m deep bore holes.

The Elizabeth line will provide quicker journeys through central London.

From May 20 on Heathrow Connect, customers will be able to use pay as you go with Oyster and contactless between Paddington and Heathrow.