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One branch runs to Heathrow Central (for Terminals 2 and 3), Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminal 5, The main western section runs on the surface from Reading to Acton Main Line.Upgrades are being made to stations at Maidenhead, Taplow, Burnham, Slough, Langley, Iver, West Drayton, Hayes & Harlington, Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Acton Main Line.Crossrail's central core section will use new east–west twin tunnels under central London, splitting into two branches at either end.The tunnelled sections will be approximately 22 kilometres (14 mi) in length.One of the two eastern sections runs underground from Whitechapel to Stratford, then on the surface on the existing main line.The service will replace the "Shenfield metro", with key stops at Ilford, Romford (for interchange with London Overground services to Upminster), Gidea Park (where some peak hour trains will start or terminate), and Shenfield.
The central section and a large portion of the line, between Paddington in central London and Abbey Wood in the south-east, are due to open in December 2018, when it will be named the Elizabeth line in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.
Crossrail will be operated by MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd as a London Rail concession of Transport for London, in a similar manner to London Overground.
It is expected to relieve pressure on existing east-west London Underground lines such as the Central and District lines, as well as the Jubilee line extension and the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly line.
In the east, the line splits at Whitechapel, with one branch running over the existing Great Eastern Main Line via Stratford to Shenfield, and the other branch running through Canary Wharf and emerging from the tunnel at Custom House on a disused part of the North London Line, continuing under the River Thames to Abbey Wood.
In the west the route connects with the Great Western Main Line at Paddington and runs to Hayes and Harlington, where it splits.