WORLD NEWS

Elizabeth line: Huge new underground railway opens deep beneath London

May 24, 2022, 6:35 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:14 pm

(CNN) — A huge new subterranean railway whisked fare-paying passengers deep beneath the streets of London for the first time on Tuesday as the U.K. capital opened a $25 billion new metro line that will transform travel across the city.

Large crowds of rail enthusiasts, commuters and excited locals turned out to catch the first of the new trains of the Elizabeth line as they departed from Paddington Station shortly after 6.30 a.m. Many had been lining up for hours.

The line, known as Crossrail before being renamed in honor of the British Queen — who visited it last week — will drastically reduce journey times across London. It’s the largest increase in the often traffic-snarled city’s rail capacity for half a century.

Its construction — an engineering marvel fraught with the hazards of burrowing around London’s existing underground tangle of Victorian tube lines, sewage pipes, building foundations and ancient burial grounds — has not been without controversy.

Originally due to open in 2018, the railway, at times Europe’s largest infrastructure project, has been beset by delays and an escalating budget. A question mark also hangs over how useful it will be after Covid drastically reduced commuter traffic.

But for those using the service on its first day, there were few concerns as passengers luxuriated in its spacious air conditioned train carriages, beautiful airy stations and smooth motion — a world away from the cramped and noisy experience of older underground lines.

Among the first was Elizabeth Harding, 37, a health service employee from the town of St. Albans, north of London, who rode the shiny new rails wearing special “Elizabeth line” sneakers after leaving home at 3.30 a.m.

“I like trains and my name is Elizabeth, and I’ve got the shoes, so I had to come,” she told CNN on the wide platform of Farringdon Station as a train glided quietly away to its next destination.

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

‘Trials and tribulations’

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

Will Folker, a 24-year-old London-based rail enthusiast who works in sales, also rose early on Tuesday to be among the first passengers. “It’s one of the biggest railway openings in the U.K. for quite some time, so I’m very excited to see it opening after all the trials and tribulations,” he said.

Folker also praised the experience of riding the new line. “It’s smooth, easy to use and it’s punctual. It’ll make things easier for people coming into central London.”

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, who spent Tuesday morning traveling the new line and happily posing for selfies with customers and staff, spoke of his delight at the line’s long-awaited launch.

“Everyone should be so proud,” he told reporters at Woolwich station in southeast London. “We have the world’s finest railway opening to the public.

“The last time we had a transport expansion on this scale was in 1969 when the Victoria line opened.”

The line was hit by one minor setback on opening day when an accidental fire alarm triggered a precautionary evacuation of passengers at Paddington, causing minor disruption to late-morning journey times.

When running normally, Tuesday’s opening saw trains connecting Paddington in west London with Abbey Wood in the southeast, with stops at key stations including the shopping center of Tottenham Court Road and the financial district of Canary Wharf.

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


The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

This court-sketch made on Monday shows defendant Salah Abdeslam (right) standing next to the 13 oth...
Xiaofei Xu, CNN and Reuters

Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam sentenced to life in prison without parole

Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to be only surviving member of the group that carried out a series of deadly gun-and-bomb attacks across Paris in November 2015, was found guilty on Wednesday and handed France's harshest sentence — life without the possibility of parole.
1 day ago
For the first time ever, economy class passengers are going to have the option of stretching out fo...
Karla Cripps, CNN

Airline reveals ‘Skynest’ bunk beds for economy class passengers

For the first time ever, economy class passengers are going to have the option of stretching out for some sleep on actual beds during their flights.
1 day ago
US President Joe Biden, speaks with Jens Stoltenberg (unseen) NATO Secretaty General at the NATO le...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press

US to boost military presence in Europe for Russia threat

President Joe Biden says the U.S. is enhancing its military presence in Europe for the long haul to bolster regional security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
1 day ago
(Ukraine State Services/Twitter)...
YURAS KARMANAU and FRANCESCA EBEL, Associated Press

Ukrainian officials say at least 2 dead as missile hits mall

Ukrainian officials say scores of civilians are feared killed or injured after a Russian rocket strike hit a crowded shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk.
3 days ago
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds the closing press conference at NATO headquarters dur...
SAMUEL PETREQUIN, Associated Press

NATO to boost rapid reaction force, Ukraine military support

NATO chief says alliance aims to boost rapid reaction force numbers from the current 40,000 to over 300,000.
3 days ago
(Gustavo Petro/El Espinal via CNN)...
Associated Press

4 killed when stands collapse during Colombian bullfight

Part of the wooden stands have collapsed during a bullfight in central Colombia, sending spectators plunging to the ground and killing at least four people and injuring hundreds.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Elizabeth line: Huge new underground railway opens deep beneath London