In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Elizabeth line is opening in London next week (May 24) after years of delays and costs of £20 billion.
Will the highspeed Crossrail be worth the wait? That is all to be found out in good time, but today (May 17) the line kicked things off in royal fashion, as the Queen made an appearance at Paddington station to give Crossrail a grand opening.
It came as a surprise to many, as Queen Elizabeth II, 96, was initially not expected to make the ceremony due to recent mobility issues; and the Earl of Wessex was slated to step in for the opening. But, at the last minute, she was on hand to mark the beginning of the line named after her.
Passengers will be able to use the line from start next week, and Paddington will be a major station for commuters to pass through on the Crossrail. The Royal Party was today n hand to to meet drivers and station staff who will be operating the Elizabeth line.
It comes three and a half years after the initial opening date in December 2018, and over six years after it was revealed that the line would be named after Queen Elizabeth II. Despite the delays, it will open in time for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which is celebrated with a four-day bank holiday weekend between June 2 – 5.
Andy Byford, Transport for London commissioner, said: “Everyone at TfL is committed to ensuring this new railway will serve as a fitting tribute [to the Queen] and will — by creating faster journeys, new jobs, and economic growth — become a vital part of London’s recovery.”
Next week sees a partial opening of the Elizabeth line, with the full extent of the line set to open in further stages. Read more about the opening next week here.