A South East London neighbourhood has seen a “dramatic” increase in the number of people moving to it since the Elizabeth line opened, despite traffic in the area becoming “carnage” as a result of the better rail connections.

The Elizabeth line opened its purple doors in May 2022, and saw over 60 million journeys in its first six months according to Transport for London.

The transport operator said that they currently see around 600,000 journeys a day on the entire service, with roughly 80 per cent of these trips being between Paddington and Abbey Wood in Greenwich.

News Shopper: A general view of Abbey Wood in London, Britain 23 May 2023. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon.A general view of Abbey Wood in London, Britain 23 May 2023. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon.

One year on from its opening, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) visited Abbey Wood station to see how locals have received the new transport link.

Nim Bhadare, 50, is the owner of Abbey Wood Minicabs.

Having worked in the area for nine years, Mr Bhadare appreciates the increased interest in Abbey Wood that the Elizabeth line has brought, as he felt change was needed.

Mr Bhadare told the LDRS: “It’s massive for the area. It’s fantastic because the place needed regenerating.

"It had a small station not long ago and obviously the new one was built… It’s brilliant, I think it’s just going to get bigger and better. I think more and more people are realising now, and you can see the affluence of the area changing as well.”

The business owner said a large number of people have come to the area as a result of the new transport link.

However, he said the station can often lead to traffic coming to a standstill on weekday evenings as people drive to make use of the faster rail connections to Central and West London.

He said: “If you come here at five o’clock, it tails back all up the hill, all down the road because people are coming to pick people up and drop them off… It literally is carnage around here at that time in the evening to get yourself out.

"But now it’s good [in general here]. There’s a lot more people about, I’m sure everyone’s benefitting.”

Spencer Roe, 35, is an estate agent at Your Move on Wilton Road, and said he has lived and grown up around Abbey Wood his whole life.

Mr Roe said he is aware of the parking issues that come alongside a local station, but that the transport link has made the area a more attractive place to live as a whole.

He told the LDRS: “I think the clientele of people who are looking to move to the area now with the Elizabeth line in place has improved dramatically.

News Shopper: A general view of Abbey Wood in London, Britain 23 May 2023. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon.A general view of Abbey Wood in London, Britain 23 May 2023. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon.

"A large proportion of people are moving out of London to the Abbey Wood area because of the ease of commuter links into town now, so it’s increased dramatically.”

Mr Roe said he has also noticed an increase in office workers coming to the area since the Elizabeth line opened.

Despite this, he said the area still doesn’t have many office spaces for businesses to set up in.

He said: “I think that’s probably one thing that could be improved in the area, more retail or office based space for companies because I think there’s not a huge selection here, certainly close to the station.

"But I would imagine that’s probably something that they’re looking to improve on with the space that’s around here. I think anybody would want to be within a certain area near the station just because of the access and the traffic that people bring with that.”

Ahmed Afama, 55, works in Abbey Wood Dry Cleaners.

The shop worker said that he feels the area is coming up thanks to the Elizabeth line and has noticed a lot more workers moving into the area who may commute to Canary Wharf.

Mr Afama told the LDRS: “There’s a lot of new people every day coming into my shop. My old customer is gone.

"In the last two or three months, he told me he’s left this area to go buy a cheaper house.”

Despite the new people in the area, Mr Afama said he hasn’t seen local businesses significantly benefitting from the new clientele.

He also said the increased infrastructure seems necessary for the new flats planned for the area, which appear to be driving up prices.

He said: “There’s a lot of new customers coming. At the moment business is not good but the future is good in this area. There’s a lot of new flats around Sainsbury’s.”

Labour Councillor Averil Lekau, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, told the LDRS: “The development of such crucial transport infrastructure supports the wider regeneration of the area, encouraging new housing and business growth, and giving local people access to new jobs and opportunities.”

The deputy leader said the Elizabeth line has had an “immensely positive impact” on Abbey Wood and the surrounding area.

She particularly praised the improved journey times to destinations such as Canary Wharf and Central London.

She added: “Moreover, improved transport links act as a catalyst for opening up the area, facilitating increased connectivity and enabling a steady influx of people, which in turn brings forth enhanced access to a multitude of opportunities and job prospects.

"It’s vital to improving the lives of our residents, helping to give developers and businesses confidence in the area.”

Cllr Lekau said Greenwich Council are working with the Mayor of London, Newham Council and Central Government to push plans for a DLR extension to Thamesmead.

She said the extension would have a similar impact on the area and give a much needed public transport link to the local community.

A TfL spokesperson told the LDRS: “The Elizabeth line is an integral part of the transport network and has seen more than 150million journeys since opening in May 2022.

The railway is having a transformative impact, improving the lives of people who live and work in Abbey Wood, and boosting the connectivity to the area with 30,000 extra journeys made since the line opened a year ago.”

They added: “Direct services from the station now run through Central London and as far as Heathrow and Reading, meaning Abbey Wood now has new, accessible transport options in addition to the National Rail services that serve the station.”