Elizabeth line is ‘game changer’ for Canary Wharf, says estate boss

The Elizabeth Line station at Canary Wharf  (Crossrail Project)
The Elizabeth Line station at Canary Wharf (Crossrail Project)

People commuting to work at Canary Wharf are set to be among the biggest beneficiaries of Crossrail, the area’s landlord has predicted.

Shobi Khan, chief executive of Canary Wharf Group, said the Elizabeth line would also encourage more visitors to “one of London’s best-kept secrets”.

He told the Standard that the 39-minute direct link to and from Heathrow airport would be a “game changer”.

Prior to the pandemic, commuters faced peak-hour overcrowding on the Jubilee line, particularly to and from Waterloo, or had to rely on the DLR or riverboat to reach Canary Wharf. Only about four per cent of workers walked or cycled.

 (Crossrail)
(Crossrail)

The Elizabeth line opens at 6.30am on Tuesday and Mr Khan said: “It’s a game changer for London and I think Canary Wharf is a big beneficiary of that. It will reduce the travel time for a lot of folks, either [going] west or east. The second big thing is the connection to Heathrow.

“Being able to have companies located here, 10 minutes from City airport and 39 minutes from Heathrow, makes Canary Wharf an attractive place for business, even more so.”

Shobi Khan: Canary Wharf  will be 10 minutes from City airport and 39 minutes from Heathrow (Matt Writtle)
Shobi Khan: Canary Wharf will be 10 minutes from City airport and 39 minutes from Heathrow (Matt Writtle)

The “box” for the Crossrail station, on the northern edge of the Canary Wharf estate, about 10 minutes’ walk from the Tube station, was built by the Canary Wharf Group for £500 million. The group also contributed £150 million towards the cost.

Construction was completed in 2015 but Crossrail had to spend an additional £80 million making it safe. There were “significant issues” including problems with the fire systems, according to reports by the National Audit Office and Commons public accounts committee. The station was only finally handed over in January.

Crossrail Project: Elizabeth Line – In pictures

The six-storey building includes a roof terrace that was on Monday hosting a VIP Crossrail party, numerous shops and restaurants and an Everyman cinema. Marks & Spencer and Boots outlets are due to open soon.

Shops and restaurants have been “built in” to the new Crossrail station at Canary Wharf (Matt Writtle)
Shops and restaurants have been “built in” to the new Crossrail station at Canary Wharf (Matt Writtle)

There are 80 restaurants and bars across the Canary Wharf estate, with the acclaimed Indian restaurant Dishoom due to open. There are five residential towers. A school is due to open and there are plans for a private school.

“If the Jubilee line gets stuck with technical issues, we only had the DLR and Thames Clippers,” Mr Khan said.

“Our restaurants are exceeding 2019 levels. I think there is a misconception of Canary Wharf being purely a financial centre, but we are creating a vibrant mixed community. The Elizabeth line will help people to come to Canary Wharf and experience all the amenities that we offer.”

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