Elizabeth line officially opens to public as first trains run on London’s £19bn railway | UK News


The first trains have started operating on London’s Elizabeth line railway – formerly known as Crossrail.

It will slash many journey times in the capital but is three-and-a-half years late and £4bn over budget.

The line stretches from Reading and Heathrow Airport, through central London, to Abbey Wood in southeast London and Shenfield in Essex.

A crowd of about 300 gathered outside Paddington Station in an attempt to be on the first train.

It departed on time at 6.33am with excited transport enthusiasts recording the moment on social media.

Colin Kelso, 18, travelled from Glasgow and wore a hoody with “Purple train” on the front, in reference to the line’s colour scheme.

He said: “I want to get on the first train. I’ve always liked trains and have been keeping up to date with the project.”

Hakim Colclough, 24, from Chessington, Surrey, also travelled into London for the opening, which he called a “momentous occasion” and “a once-in-a-lifetime thing”.

Read more:
Years of delays and billions over budget – but can Crossrail transform the capital’s fortunes?

The project was one of Europe’s biggest infrastructure projects and originally planned to open at the end of 2018, but was beset by delays.

Services will not yet run uninterrupted along the whole line – passengers must change at Paddington until the autumn.

It will also be closed on Sundays to begin with, apart from during the Platinum Jubilee weekend, to allow for more testing and software updates.

Transport bosses will be hoping the faster, quieter trains and new stations will impress and deliver on promises by Boris Johnson and London’s mayor that it will reap a multibillion-pound boost for the whole country.


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