Huge new railway line opens deep beneath London

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London (CNN) – A huge new underground railway rocked the streets of London for the first time on Tuesday, paying passengers fare as the UK capital opened a new $ 25 billion metro line that would transform travel across the city.

Many stood in line for hours as a large crowd of rail enthusiasts, passengers and enthusiastic locals departed from Paddington Station shortly after 6:30 a.m. to catch the first new trains on the Elizabeth Line.

The line, known as the Crossrail before the name was changed in honor of the British Queen – Who visited him last week – will greatly reduce travel time across London. This is the largest increase in the rail capacity of a city surrounded by frequent traffic for half a century.
Crowds gathered outside Paddington Station to board the first train on London's new Elizabeth Line.

Crowds gathered outside Paddington Station to board the first train on London’s new Elizabeth Line.

Leon Neil / Getty Images

Its construction – an engineering wonder full of the dangers of barring around London’s existing Victorian tube lines, sewer pipes, building foundations and the existing underground complex of ancient cemeteries – has not been without controversy.

Originally set to open in 2018, the railways, sometimes Europe’s largest infrastructure project, have been plagued by delays and increasing budgets. There is also a question mark over how useful the covid will be after the massive reduction in commuter traffic.

But for those who used the service on its first day, there was little concern as passengers stayed away from the spacious and noisy experience of its spacious air-conditioned train carriage, beautiful air-conditioned stations and smooth speed – the old underground lines.

The first was Elizabeth Harding, 37, a healthcare worker from the city of St. Albans, north of London, who left home at 3.30am and rode on shiny new rails wearing special “Elizabeth Line” sneakers.

“I like trains and my name is Elizabeth, and I have shoes, so I had to come,” she told CNN on the huge platform at Farringdon station when a train was quietly approaching its destination.

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“How often do you get the chance to be part of a brand new train line opening in London?”

‘Trial and Trouble’

Elizabeth Harding

Elizabeth Harding: “It’s simple, quiet and aesthetically pleasing.”

Barry Neeld / CNN

Harding said the line lived up to expectations. “I think it’s simple, quiet and aesthetically pleasing,” she said. “I especially like the seat fabric – it’s beautiful.”

Will Folker, a 24-year-old London-based rail enthusiast who works in sales, was also among the first passengers on Tuesday morning. “It is one of the largest railway openings in the UK for some time now, so I am very excited to see it open after all the trials and tribulations,” he said.

EL shoes

Harding’s Elizabeth line-themed footwear.

Barry Neeld / CNN

Fokker also praised the experience of riding the new line. “It’s simple, easy to use and punctual. It will make things easier for people coming to central London.”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who traveled to the new line on Tuesday morning and happily took selfies with customers and staff, expressed his delight at the line’s long-awaited launch.

Elizabeth Line's exclusive seat coverings.

Elizabeth Line’s exclusive seat coverings.

Leon Neil / Getty Images

“The last time we expanded transport on this scale was in 1969 when the Victoria Line opened.”

While running normally, trains connecting Paddington with Abbey Wood to southeast in west London early Tuesday saw stops at major stations, including the Tottenham Court Road shopping center and the Canary Wharf financial district.

And when it fully opens in 2022, the 62-mile network will also connect far-flung tourist towns, bringing another 1.5 million people within 45 minutes of Heathrow, the main international airport in central London and the UK.

Ben Jones contributed to this report.

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