The Queen marked the completion of a new railway line by attending its opening at Paddington Station.
Earlier this week, Her Royal Highness (HRH) celebrated the new Elizabeth line, which will open to the public on May 24th.
The line has been named after Queen Elizabeth II and will be launched as the country celebrates her Platinum Jubilee next weekend (June 2nd to 5th).
Joining the 96-year-old monarch at Paddington Station in London were the Earl of Wessex, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
Andy Byford, Transport for London (TfL) commissioner, and transport secretary the Right Hon Grant Shapps were also in attendance, as well as Mark Wild, chief executive of Crossrail, which is behind the project.
The line was originally going to be called Crossrail. However, it was changed to the Elizabeth line to mark the connection between the royal family and London’s transport network.
Queen Elizabeth II herself is well-known for being the first reigning monarch to travel on the London Underground. This occurred in 1969 when she opened the Victoria line, named after her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
At the opening of the new line, which is expected to increase London’s rail network by ten per cent and serve 200 million people every year, the Queen unveiled a plaque that will remain permanently on display at the station.
The line stretches 100km from Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, stopping at 41 stations. As part of the new transport facility, ten new stations have been built by Crossrail and existing travel hubs have been upgraded.
Eight giant tunnel boring machines were used in the construction of the railway line, tunnelling through the capital city, and gathering three million tonnes of excavated spoil.
It crosses the River Thames three times as part of the 42km of new rail tunnels in the heart of London.
The trains themselves have seven to nine carriages with various seating types. They come with air conditioning, CCTV cameras for extra security, and dedicated wheelchair and multi-use spaces.
They were designed to be energy-efficient, using 30 per cent less fuel when braking thanks to a new management system. They have also been built with lightweight materials, and feature an aerodynamic shape to reduce drag, insultation to cut down on heat loss, and updated gearboxes to lower energy use during acceleration and deceleration.
Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) also enable the driver to use the best driving techniques to reduce energy consumption while still meeting timetable demands.
After next week, TfL Rail will become part of the Elizabeth line, while the central section of the network will open to the public for the first time.
There will be 12 trains per hour, with transport arriving every five minutes. The service will start at 0630 and come to an end at 2300 between Mondays and Saturdays.
At the moment, the line will function as three separate railways, one in the east, one in the west and one through central London. However, they will connect together from the autumn. This will enable those travelling from Heathrow in the west to journey to the furthest point in the east without having to change at Paddington.
By May 2023, it is hoped that all three sections of the line will be fully connected, offering 24 trains per hour during peak times.
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