On Tuesday, 17th May, Her Majesty The Queen visited the Elizabeth line station at Paddington ahead of the railway opening on Tuesday, 24th May.
The Queen and the Earl of Wessex met Elizabeth Line staff, including apprentices, drivers, station staff, and staff who have been key to the Crossrail project to celebrate the completion of the line named in Her honour The Queen unveiled a plaque that will be permanently mounted at Paddington station to celebrate her connection with the line.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson, The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Transport for London’s Commissioner Andy Byford, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, and Crossrail Chief Executive Mark Wild joined her Majesty and His Royal Highness on the visit.
Following its public opening next week, the Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways: between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington; Paddington to Liverpool Street; and Liverpool Street to Shenfield. Later this year, Bond Street station will open and the western and eastern sections of the line will be connected to the central section to enable through travel between Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield.
Nearly 70 per cent of the cost of the line came from London, with 30 per cent from London’s fare payers, and 40 per cent from London’s businesses, whilst the Government contributed the remaining 30 per cent.
To mark the name change from Crossrail to the Elizabeth line, The Queen visited the railway during its construction in 2016. Her Majesty became the first reigning monarch to travel on the London Underground in 1969, when she opened the Victoria line.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“I’m delighted that Her Majesty The Queen and HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex have officially unveiled the new Elizabeth line station at Paddington today. The opening of the Elizabeth line, with nearly 70 per cent of the total funding paid for by London, is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year.
“The Elizabeth line is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades and this new line will revolutionise travel across the capital and the south east and bring economic benefits to the whole country. There is now just one week to go until our world-class new railway will be open to passengers, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience it.”
Andy Byford, Transport for London’s Commissioner, said:
“Her Majesty The Queen has a long association with London’s transport network, and I am delighted that Her Majesty was able to visit our magnificent Paddington Elizabeth line station today. In a landmark year for Her Majesty, during the Platinum Jubilee, everyone at TfL is committed to ensuring this new railway will serve as a fitting tribute and will – by creating faster journeys, new jobs, and economic growth – become a vital part of London’s recovery.
“What could be better for encouraging back on to public transport, and what better symbol could there be of London’s renaissance from the pandemic.”
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said:
“Boasting the oldest underground network in the world, London has long been viewed as a pioneer in world-leading transport systems and the Elizabeth Line is no exception.
“Just one week from now, Londoners will have access to faster and cheaper travel onboard these state-of-the-art trains and it’s an honour to have played a role in this through the Government’s £9bn investment.”