he £ 20 billion Elizabeth line has opened to Londoners with much fanfare after people queued throughout the night to take the first trains from Paddington and Abbey Wood.
There were extraordinary scenes and a party atmosphere as hundreds of passengers, the first of whom had been waiting since midnight, rushed down two flights of escalators to the platform to await the 06.33am, the first train to depart Paddington.
As the train set off bang-on time, Mayor Sadiq Khan exclaimed “phew!” and gave Transport for London commissioner Andy Byford a bear hug. Mr Khan, cupping his ear di lui, told the Evening Standard: “Do you know what sound that is? Next. “
Mr Khan said: “It’s a landmark day.”
There were some confusion when passengers were evacuated from Paddington station just before 9am after a fire alarm. The incident was brief and the platforms were reopened within about 30 minutes.
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Watch: Sadiq Khan rides the new Elizabeth Line train with Ross Lydall
Over 100k journeys have already taken place on Elizabeth Line
Over 100,000 journeys have already taken place on the Elizabeth Line since its opening at 6.30am today, according to the latest TfL statistics.
This morning up until 10am, an estimated 130,000 journeys took place across the Elizabeth line, which runs between Reading, Heathrow, Abbey Wood and Shenfield.
Of these, around half involved the new central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood.
The new Paddington Elizabeth line station has already seen 14,000 entries and exits up until 10am, Tfl said.
And the new Canary Wharf Elizabeth line station has already seen 9,000 entries and exits up until 10am.
Canary Wharf Group says Elizabeth line is ‘transformative’ for area
The chief executive of Canary Wharf Group has said the Elizabeth line will bring businesses to the area.
Shobi Khan called the move a “transformative day for Canary Wharf” in Tower Hamlets.
He said he “couldn’t be more excited” about the new transport links.
Mr Khan continued: “When the DLR opened in 1991, it was the first rail connection to Canary Wharf. The Jubilee line followed in 1999. Both were huge moments for us and for all of east London. “As important as those moments were, the launch of the Elizabeth line is even bigger. “All Londoners and every visitor will benefit. The new line transforms connectivity and brings us all closer together. “
He also said it would boost retail in the area.
Mr Khan added: “Here in Canary Wharf, the new Elizabeth line station is already a vital hub in our community with its collection of fantastic restaurants and its innovative roof garden.
“More retail is set to open on the station’s first floor soon, and it will serve as a fantastic gateway to Canary Wharf for decades to come.”
Re-cap: Pictures of the new Elizabeth line opening
Inside the mission control room for London’s new Elizabeth line
Located near Romford station, the top floor of an anonymous Network Rail building has been converted into the control center for London’s £ 20bn new digital railway.
Home to about 60 staff, the room, known officially as Romford ROC (rail operating center), operates 24/7. It is dominated by rows of screens, the largest showing the entire 60-mile line and all 41 stations.
On another wall is a live CCTV feed from each of the 10 new central London stations. The system is so advanced that the entire line can be “run” by a single signaller, or “fat controller”.
Read more about what it’s like to step inside the mission control room for the Elizabeth line here.
Meet the man behind Crossail’s innovative design
Many have hailed Crossrail a design triumph, famed for its elegant curves and striking ceileings.
Its head of architecture, Julian Robinson, has said one of the features he is most proud of are the fully screened platform edges.
To find out more about the story behind the line’s innovative design details, click here.
Mayor of London challenges passengers to ‘get off Crossrail without a spring in their step’
Still speaking in Woolwich, Sadiq Khan has challenged anyone to “get off a Crossrail train without a spring in their step.”
The Mayor of London said he had met people from all over the world trying out the new line when it opened to the public for the first time on Tuesday morning.
“I met someone from Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Glasgow and Edinburgh early this morning getting onto a Crossrail train ‘” he said.
“Londoners have traveled across the city to get the first train – that’s the excitement that this engenders.”
How will Crossrail affect house prices on its route?
You may have heard people talking about the “Crossrail effect”, the term for micro property price booms near Elizabeth line stations.
Some Crossrail areas are seeing a vast 10-year price growth, while other Crossrail locations are now in the spotlight for having average house prices still well below the £ 500,000 mark.
The price of a London home is now £ 523,666 on average according to the Office of National Statistics, so those looking to buy a home now that the train service is finally up and running – almost four years behind schedule – could do worse than to look at the cheapest areas on the route map.
Some areas around the line’s 41 stations have seen far more investment than others: south-east London’s Woolwich has had billions spent on new home builds with more developments on the horizon, while Seven Kings in east London hasn’t seen much more change than a station upgrade.
The cheapest areas are all on the east and south-east London sections of the Elizabeth line, with average houses under £ 500,000 and flats under £ 250,000. Click here to start your search.
What does the new Tube map look like with the Elizabeth line included?
The Tube map has been redrawn to include the Elizabeth line – the biggest change to the map in recent history.
The £ 20bn cross-London line is shown as a white line with a double purple border – the same regal color used for its roundels and other features.
However, TfL bosses are keen to emphasize that the Elizabeth line is “not a Tube line”.
A Transport for London spokeswoman previously said the “double purple” line – rather than a solid color, as used for the Underground lines – “helps to reinforce… that it’s not a Tube line”.
Click here to find out blackberries.
London First chief executive: Impact of new transport links would be felt ‘up and down the country’
The chief executive of London First has said the opening of the Elizabeth line will be “transformative”.
Speaking to BBC News, John Dickie said the impact of the new transport links would be felt “up and down the country”.
He said: “By connecting airports, offices, homes, shops, and leisure activities more quickly, easily and accessibly, the Elizabeth line will be transformative for Londoners and visitors alike.
“This project is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved when business and all levels of government work together for the good of the national economy.
“With a quarter of carbon emissions coming from transport, and the project’s supply chain contracts awarded up and down the country, it is an investment in both a net zero future and leveling up.”