Queen Elizabeth made a surprise appearance at the opening of the long-awaited train line named in her honor.
London’s new Elizabeth Line railway, which was originally slated to open in 2020, will begin serving passengers on May 24.
The world’s oldest currently reigning monarch, who was walking aided by a stick and wearing a bright yellow outfit and hat, and was given a prepaid Oyster card to mark the event. She did not use the train line herself, however.
Originally called the London Crossrail, the city’s new east-west railway, will be called the Elizabeth line. It is a 73-mile (117-kilometer) route that, in the west, will divide into two branches, namely to Reading and stations at Heathrow Airport, and in the east to Abbey Wood and Shenfield.
A train that runs across London from east to west was first proposed in 1830, but it has taken almost 200 years to come to fruition.
The Elizabeth line will serve around 250 million passengers per year. It makes stops at 41 stations along the full route, ten of which were newly built. The other 30 are refurbishments of existing stations.
Wi-Fi service will be available on the platforms as well as onboard the trains.
The Elizabeth line has sliding doors at the edge of the platform to keep people from falling, or jumping, onto the tracks. They also separate the cooler airflow in the tunnels from the air in the station.
Trains on the Elizabeth line are air-conditioned, unlike most London Underground trains.
The carriages used on the line are bright and spacious. They are 1.5 times larger than trainsets used on other tube lines in the city. The 656-foot-long (200-meter-long) Class 345 trains are already running on the west from Paddington to Reading and Heathrow, and to the east from Shenfield to Liverpool Street as Tfl. Rail, but these will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line once that line’s services start to operate from Paddington to Abbey Wood.
The carriages, which offer easier and faster boarding with three sets of double doors and clear areas around the doors, are fitted with intelligent LED lighting with an ambient dimming feature and provide real-time travel information via a display in each carriage. Each carriage also has four dedicated wheelchair spaces as well as separate multi-use spaces for luggage and strollers.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)