Elizabeth line is ‘for the country’ says London mayor

As the £19bn project to build a fast east-west link through the capital opens, the London mayor has told The Independent: “The Elizabeth Line is for the country.”

Sadiq Khan was speaking as hundreds of railway enthusiasts waited at London Paddington station for the first departure of a public passenger train beneath the capital on the new tracks.

“I want to thank not just London businesses and Londoners contributing 70 per cent of the cost, but also those around the country contributing 30 per cent.

“This Elizabeth Line is for the country. The trains are built in Derby. The doors for the stations in Cheshire. The signage in the Isle of Wight. The steel from Dorset.

“It’s going to contribute £42bn towards the national economy every year.

“We should be incredibly proud of this fantastic new line. It is genuinely 22nd-century fit: spacious, speedy, silent, comfortable.

“This is the game-changer we need.”

The project, known as Crossrail during its development, is 41 months late and £4bn over budget. It was designed to link Reading and Heathrow airport, west of the capital, with Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in southeast London.

Initially, though, the only through trains will be running between Paddington and Abbey Wood. The full service is scheduled to begin in May 2023.

Travellers hoping to travel from Reading or Heathrow airport to Shenfield will need to change trains twice: at Paddington and at Liverpool Street.

One of the key central London stations – Bond Street – will not open until later in the year.

The line beneath London will not run on Sundays until some time in the autumn – except for a special service on 5 June for the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

“Services will run from approximately 8am to 10pm,” says Transport for London (TfL).

The commissioner for TfL, Andy Byford, told The Independent that the Elizabeth line represents “levelling up in action”.

Mr Byford said he felt “proud and excited” on opening day – though with “a sense of trepidation because this is the first time we’ve run the service with all these wonderful, excited people on board.”

Trains were due to start running through the heart of London between Paddington in the west and Whitechapel in the east in December 2018.

But with only months to go before the launch, the project team admitted it was way behind schedule.

Since then costs have mushroomed to an estimated £4.2bn above the original £14.8bn budget – a rise of 28 per cent.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.